Don’t let Walker off the hook

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Scott Walker was testing an idea last week — that the state may have until the end of 2015 to meet his pledge that Wisconsin companies add 250,000 private-sector jobs.

Of course, that’s not what Walker promised during his 2010 campaign. He said it would happen during his first term, which ends in January. The state has added about 101,500 jobs since Walker took office.

Walker should be held to his pledge. He made it. But in some ways, too much is made of this promise. Whether the state reaches the goal or not by the end of Walker’s term, the fact remains that job growth remains sluggish in Wisconsin. And big, global forces are mostly the reason.

Yes, Walker’s record on economic development is uneven. The inept rollout of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. didn’t help. And Walker gave up an opportunity to support transportation in the state when he turned down $800 million in money for high-speed rail. He’s sometimes focused too much on poaching companies from Illinois, which is hardly ever effective. He didn’t do enough to encourage entrepreneurship, where Wisconsin historically lags, or to create a large enough venture capital fund.

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