ICYMI: "Why can’t WEDC get it done right?"

Mar 12, 2015

Scott Walker’s flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, has been an overwhelming failure ever since its hasty inception, known not for economic development but the loss of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds, unprecedented staff turnover, lack of accountability, and significant shortcomings on its own job creation goals. Wisconsin continues to hear bad news about the scandal-plagued agency, as a recent report is showing that the department still lacks appropriate controls to account for millions of dollars in taxpayer funded loans.

A series of audits in 2012 show Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation lost track of $56 million worth of taxpayer funded loans and found that the agency lacked basic internal accounting controls.

Just last month, the national media was shining a light on WEDC and Walker’s “middling” record on job creation and now the Beloit Daily News is weighing in with a scathing editorial on Walker’s failures at WEDC.

The Beloit Daily News writes:

“WEDC has been run badly ever since it was formed to succeed Commerce. Audits a couple years into its operation were highly critical, essentially suggesting WEDC had lost track of millions in government money handed off to businesses and, perhaps worse, the agency’s record keeping was so bad it couldn’t really say whether promised jobs actually had materialized.
“In response, legislators reformed the reforms, raising the bar of expectations and reporting for WEDC.
“Now comes yet another round of audits showing the agency is still a mess when it comes to financial controls. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WEDC again fouled up the process and failed to appropriately track tens of millions of taxpayer dollars funneled to businesses.
“It’s way past time heads rolled.”
The Daily News also slammed a proposal in Walker’s budget that would remove legislative oversight from the WEDC board, saying, “Additionally, eyebrows go up over the proposal to remove legislators from the governing board of directors. Legislators are there to represent the taxpayers’ interests and also bring another element of transparency. Reforming board makeup smells a little too much like a play to diminish public embarrassments by limiting exposure.”

Read the editorial in its entirety here.