As career politician Scott Walker is shamelessly attacking an iconic Wisconsin brand to score cheap political points, is his top economic development official still defending companies who use Wisconsin tax dollars to ship jobs overseas?
That’s the question for Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Reed Hall, a Tea Party figure with a history of donating to Walker’s campaigns, as he today addresses the Milwaukee Rotary Club on WEDC’s activities, jobs impacted, and “areas of concern.”
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."
“Why does Scott Walker’s administration think it’s ok for companies who receive taxpayer funds to then ship Wisconsin jobs overseas?” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “Walker needs to answer the question and address the stunning hypocrisy in his political machine slamming a Wisconsin success story that puts $100 million into our economy each year while his administration supports outsourcing Wisconsin jobs.”