Walker hedges on jobs goal, pans Burke's jobs plan - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Walker hedges on jobs goal, pans Burke's jobs plan

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker Tuesday hedged on his campaign goal of creating 250,000 new private sector jobs by the end of his first term, stating the jobs target may be achieved later next year.

Appearing at a Fall Rivers manufacturing plant to help mark the company's expansion into a larger facility, Walker told reporters the much-talked about job creation number may not be hit in January 2015, but remains a target.

"We talked about obtaining that by 2015, whether it's on January 1, or a little bit into 2015, that's still our goal and still our standard," Walker said.

Walker emphasized over 100,000 jobs have been created since he took office, and the unemployment rate has dipped three points since he took office in 2011.  Walker's opponent, democrat Mary Burke, was former commerce secretary under Walker's predecessor Jim Doyle, but has said unemployment was under 5% when she left the job mid-way through Doyle's term.

The current job creation rate under Walker would leave him well short of his goal in 2015, but he said the focus should be on Wisconsin's improving economy, and not a single number.

"The democrats, our opponents, if we hit 249,999, could still be running you guys in the media to say, 'A ha! He's one job short.' :"

Walker said Burke's jobs plan unveiled Tuesday must be considered in light of her track record as commerce secretary under Doyle. Thousands of jobs were lost during Doyle's tenure as recession gripped much of the country.

Walker said Burke's job initiative of supporting clusters of successful companies in an industry has been done by his administration, and called Burke's call for ramping up the state's venture capital investments surprising, since he said such investments lagged when Burke headed up the commerce department.

Walker also said he would release a new jobs plan himself, possibly in late April.

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