Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke releases jobs plan

MADISON (WITI) — Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has released a five-part jobs plan that involves investing in entrepreneurs and focusing on higher education. She unveiled the plan in Milwaukee on Tuesday, March 25th. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker says his ideas to improve the state's economy are already working.

If jobs remain the top issue in Wisconsin, the gubernatorial campaign could hinge on whether voters think Scott Walker's ideas are working, or it's time for a new plan.

In a forum at Marquette University on Tuesday, Burke detailed her plan for improving Wisconsin's economy.

"We're talking about a state's economy. We're talking about our future," Burke said.

Burke's 40-page plan details five strategies for improving the economy.

First, Burke wants to create "clusters of opportunity" by focusing on industry clusters -- not just individual firms.

Second, she is looking to "close the degree gap" -- saying Wisconsin will need to educate hundreds of thousands of people beyond high school to be competitive.

Third, she wants to invest in businesses -- focusing on small start-ups.

Fourth, she wants Wisconsin to be player in the "global marketplace" -- increasing exports of Wisconsin products.

Finally, she says the key to a booming economy is creating a climate where people actually want to live and work.

"I brought Governor Walker's plan from 2010. This is four pages. I've seen eighth-grade term papers that have more work put into them," Burke said.

"You can put out all the plans in the world, but the proof is in the pudding. She worked for Governor Jim Doyle during his last term. During his last term Wisconsin lost 133,000 jobs. They lost 27,000 businesses. We've turned that around," Gov. Walker said.

The unemployment rate is down significantly under Walker, but job creation has been tepid.

This month, the U.S. Department of Labor released jobs numbers that show Wisconsin gained just over 28,000 jobs last year -- ranking 35th in the nation and among the worst in the Midwest.

Gov. Walker famously promised to help create 250,000 in his first term.

Three years in, he's less than halfway there.

"In 2013, we still saw the largest private sector job growth we've seen since the 1990s, so it's starting to turn around," Gov. Walker said.

We'll get a sense of where the voters stand on some of these issues on Wednesday, March 26th. That's when the latest Marquette University Law School Poll results will be announced.

That poll has been an accurate predictor of just about every election over the past several years.