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Economic, political nerves touched by Commerce Department report

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - A new federal report on Wisconsin consumer spending has touched some nerves, both economically and politically.

The Commerce Department issued its first state by state breakdown Thursday, showing that Wisconsinites increased their spending by about a percentage point less in 2012 than both the national and Great Lakes averages.

UW-Milwaukee economist Kundan Kishor blames a smaller increase in personal incomes -- and it has a bunch of consequences. Kishor tells the AP that Wisconsin was weaker than its neighbors going into the Great Recession, and the same thing was true coming out of it.

The state lost 133,000 private sector jobs during the final years of Democratic Governor Jim Doyle's tenure, many of which were lost during the recession. The weak recovery caused only 100,000 jobs to be added during the Republican Walker's term.

This week, Walker's Democratic challenger Mary Burke ran a TV ad slamming the governor for not keeping his 2010 campaign promise to create a quarter million jobs. Both candidates hardly mention the recession's impact, as they blame each other instead.

Kishor also points to cuts in state spending and government jobs under Walker -- something the governor's office said was necessary to get rid of a $3.6 billion budget deficit.

Spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the new commerce figures run only through 2012 -- before the first of Walker's $2 billion in tax cuts.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)