Democratic candidate for governor issues jobs plan

Mary Burke
Mary Burke

MILWAUKEE/CLINTONVILLE - The jobs plan promised weeks ago by a candidate for governor came out Tuesday.

"This plan is about making investments," said Democrat Mary Burke.

Burke released a five-point plan, one that Gov. Scott Walker immediately reacted to during a stop in Clintonville.

"You can put out all the plans in the world, but the proof is in the pudding," said Walker.

How much Wisconsin's jobs market is growing figures to be a key issue in the race for governor, but Election Day is still seven months away.

Burke's plan involves investing in entrepreneurs, workforce training and industries as a whole, but Walker says the plan simply copies his most successful policies.

During a question and answer session in Milwaukee, Burke said her goal is to make Wisconsin a top ten economy.

"Setting goals, making sure you have plans to achieve those goals and that you have the benchmarks for knowing that you're on track," she said.

Burke believes the state should invest in entire industries, not individual companies.

"This builds on the strengths that we have here in Wisconsin, whether it's manufacturing, or agriculture or high tech," she said.

"That's the interesting thing is, we've been doing precisely that," said Walker.

He responded to Burke's plan to target industries as a whole.

"We've invested overall in manufacturing and agriculture, two of our largest industries. We have a tremendous new increase in the water technology, which is really a global industry," said Walker.

So what are those investments? A FOX 11 Fact Check found the state has put $750,000 toward start-up water technology companies in Milwaukee.

The state has also budgeted about $135 million for training for manufacturing, construction and customer service workers.

Burke's plan also calls for providing more funding for entrepreneurs. She says she will quadruple a state fund for start-up businesses from $30 million to $120 million over four years.

Walker says he's been focusing creating on new businesses.

"For us, we're not going to have a bidding war about the size of the dollar amount; we're going to have a focus on how many jobs and how much economic opportunity comes because of it," he said.

Walker had pledged during his 2010 campaign to add 250,000 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin by the end of this year, but that appears unlikely.

Burke didn't forecast how many jobs would be added under her plan.

Burke also says she wants to lower tuition costs and focus on making Wisconsin more competitive in the world economy.