When Scott Walker announced his signature job creation program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, in 2011, he said he was “transforming” state government to align with “our most important mission: creating jobs.”
Fast forward through years of scandal and shady backroom deals between Walker and his cronies, and you get this:
Today, Scott Walker admitted defeat on WEDC and severely downsized its core mission. Walker ended the loan program that he manipulated and twisted to dole out taxpayer money to his allies with limited accountability. Meanwhile, his proposed reforms fail to addresss the issue of outsourcing jobs by companies awarded WEDC tax incentives.
Walker’s major failures at WEDC:
- Provided financial incentives to at least three companies that then outsourced jobs. WEDC also provided benefits to a company that helps other businesses outsource. [WEDC, April 2014; Daily Jefferson County Union, 7/10/14; Chippewa Herald, 8/3/14]
- Failed to keep track of millions of dollars in taxpayer money it loaned to corporations. Then, WEDC reduced its bad loans by writing them off, providing no benefit to taxpayers. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,10/18/12; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/19/14]
- Promised 50,000 new jobs, only created 10,363. [Capital Times, 6/11/14; WEDC, Q1 2015]
- Spent $9.6 million in federal block grants in violation of federal law. Walker’s administration waited eight months after being informed to notify WEDC’s oversight board. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/26/12; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/27/12]
- Concentrated job creation efforts in Republican areas, with Republican assembly districts seeing twice the projected job growth as Democratic districts. [Capitol Times, 3/4/12; WXPR, 2/28/14]
- Failed to track results, exercised poor financial controls, and did not comply with its own internal policies, according to a 2015 audit. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/8/15; Legislative Audit Bureau, 5/15]
Great job, Governor. At least you made your political allies happy by spreading around millions in taxpayer money before the loan program was shut down.
Published: May 15, 2015