Walker Administration Says Outreach to Asia a Top Economic Priority

Jul 23, 2014

As Scott Walker’s failed flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, plans its next board meeting next Monday, Walker’s top economic official is voicing support for companies who outsource and says outreach to Asia is one of the agency’s top priorities.
Speaking Tuesday at a press event at the Milwaukee Rotary Club, WEDC CEO Reed Hall commented that one of the agency’s top priorities is reaching overseas, especially to Asia. 

Last week, Hall defended outsourcing saying, “We are in a global marketplace and some companies, to be successful financially, need to outsource.”

Both the Menomonee Falls-based Eaton Corporation and the Plexus Corporation in Neenah reportedly received millions in financial rewards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to create jobs in Wisconsin, only to lay off workers whose jobs were outsourced to facilities in foreign countries.

In 2011, Scott Walker’s flagship job creation agency awarded Eaton Corp up to $1 million in tax credits if it met job creation and retention goals. In 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees from its Pewaukee Cooper Power Systems plant and announced it was moving the jobs to Mexico. It took WEDC less than a year after the layoffs to award up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for the proposed expansion at the same Pewaukee Cooper Power Systems plant. 

Walker’s WEDC also awarded Plexus Corp. up to $2 million in tax credits in 2011 and up to a whopping $15 million in 2012. In July of 2012, Plexus announced laying off 116 employees; those workers then received federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits – benefits only available to workers laid off due to outsourcing. 

Hall went on to say, “I’m sorry that they temporarily had to outsource some jobs, but I think ultimately over the long-term its gonna be a great win for Wisconsin with both these companies.” 

And while Walker’s administration defends giving tax breaks to companies that outsource, the latest campaign finance reports show his campaign took in at least $68,500 in the last six months alone from companies that outsourced jobs.

“Even as Scott Walker is accepting campaign cash from companies which outsourced Wisconsin jobs, and his top economic official is defending outsourcing overseas, Walker continues his shameful attack on a successful Wisconsin business that employs nearly 1,000 people right here in Wisconsin,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. “Wisconsin is sick of Walker’s rank hypocrisy and cheap political stunts that have done nothing but drop Wisconsin to dead last in the Midwest in job growth. That’s why the latest polls confirm that Wisconsinites are ready for a new direction with Mary Burke.”