Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke unveiled a new jobs pledge yesterday while Gov. Scott Walker backed away from his.
Burke made her promise as she unveiled a jobs plan that called for more spending on venture capital and more of a focus on helping grow industries rather than specific businesses. She avoided promising to create a certain number of jobs if elected governor, pledging instead to help Wisconsin rank in the top 10 among states in its job growth.
“My goal is to have a top ten, thriving economy,” Burke said, “and we have benchmarks throughout the plan about how we are going to measure progress towards that.”
To put that in context, Wisconsin ranked 35th in the nation in its percentage of private sector job growth using the most recent federal numbers.
In 2010, Walker famously pledged to help the state create 250,000 jobs in his first term. Walker told reporters yesterday that was still a goal, but he gave himself wiggle room for when he wanted to achieve it.
“I said, specifically, it would be by the end of our term, which would be by January 1 of 2015. To me, whether we hit that number January 1st or it's a month or two in, I think that's realistic,” Walker said.
“When people look at the fact that we had almost two years of unprecedented amount of protest and recalls and the recalls again, obviously that had an impact on things,” he continued. “Our goal is still to get there, whether or not it's by January 1 or some time shortly thereafter, I think people will look at that and measure that.”
Walker and Republicans had criticized Burke before yesterday for not releasing any kind of jobs plan, though Walker himself has not released a new plan this election cycle. Walker said yesterday he would release one soon. “Oh no, there's no doubt: between now and the election,” Walker said. “I mean, I'm not even a candidate. Right now I'm focused on being governor.”
Today, that includes stops in four Wisconsin cities where Walker is scheduled to talk about the the tax cuts he recently signed into law.