By Lee Bergquist
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said that Gov. Scott Walker's plans to release revised job figures later this week is an attempt to "cook the books" to make Wisconsin's economy look better than it is.
During a campaign stop at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Barrett dismissed efforts planned by Walker and his administration to adjust employment figures.
"I don't doubt for a second that he and his administration are going to cook the books and put themselves in a favorable light because they cannot defend the fact that under his administration, this state has lost more jobs than any state in this entire nation," Barrett said.
"Scott Walker cannot defend his record on jobs, using the same measure that is being used by every state in the country. So they are going to write their own report, and he hopes that the media and the state will believe his numbers."
Barrett is the Democratic challenger to Walker in the gubernatorial recall election on June 5, after he defeated former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk in the primary last week. Democrats have been harping on Wisconsin's job picture and have been blaming Walker's policies for the tumble.
Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and March 2012. Of this, 17,800 were government jobs. The 23,900 loss was the largest among all states. No other state lost more than 3,500 for the period.
A spokesman for Walker said there will be no attempt to adjust figures in an inaccurate way.
"That's not true," spokesman Cullen Werwie said of Barrett's statement.
Walker was in Oconomowoc Lake on Monday, where he criticized Barrett's record in Milwaukee. He pointed to a 25% increase in property taxes over the last eight years. Over the same period, unemployment has risen 28%, Walker said.
In Waukesha County, Walker also dismissed calls by Democratic Party of Wisconsin that the governor provide details on why he set up a criminal defense fund as part of the ongoing John Doe investigation of Walker's aides while he was county executive.
"Gov. Walker is the only governor in this nation who has a criminal defense fund. The only governor," Barrett said. "And he is stonewalling this state and he is stonewalling the media by refusing time and time again to answer who's paying the tens of thousands of dollars in a legal-defense fund for himself, and I don't know who else he is paying for."
Barrett appeared at UWM with U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and state Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee).
All three encouraged students to vote, and if they are moving back home for the summer, to sign absentee ballots so they can vote in Milwaukee.