MADISON (WITI) — Gov. Walker’s premiere job creation agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is riddled with problems. Democrats say it is time to close up shop at the WEDC, while Republicans say the agency just needs more fine tuning.
“The sirens are going off,” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D – Kenosha) said.
Barca is sounding the alarm, saying the WEDC is failing at its primary purpose: job creation.
“The problem is that our Republican colleagues aren’t even willing to get off the couch when they’re hearing these sirens go off,” Barca said.
The most recent quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ranked Wisconsin 44th in private sector job creation. Soon after, a state audit showed that the job creation agency WEDC broke the law, failed to track money and awarded tax credits to ineligible recipients. This, on the heels of critical headlines that exposed mismanagement at the agency.
“We need immediate and dramatic action in order to make progress in Wisconsin on jobs and in order to ensure that the WEDC can be effective,” Barca said.
Some are calling for Gov. Walker to step down as chairman of the WEDC.
“The governor should step down? Because these rocket scientists who gave us the ’09-’11 budget $5 billion in higher taxes, drove jobs out of Wisconsin, and they don’t have confidence in Scott Walker who balanced the budget, gave us a surplus? Take a look at who’s talking,” Sen. Mike Ellis (R – Neenah) said.
Ellis, who serves as Senate President calls the WEDC surprisingly sloppy, but he says he’s confident the mistakes will be corrected.
“It’s like you’re recalling a vehicle, a new vehicle and you think you’ve got all your bugs worked out and then it doesn’t work and you have to bring it back and retool it. I think this is a retooling process. I’m confident that when they get done it’ll work,” Ellis said.
Gov. Walker says the problems are being addressed, but Democrats say WEDC’s bad bookkeeping is bad for business.