Governor Scott Walker’s WEDC Mess Proves He Is Not Good Steward Of Taxpayers’ Money
It wasn’t as if there was not a chorus of voices both in and out of government who did not send up alarms and suggestions about the need to be more prepared prior to the startup of Governor Scott Walker’s jobs creation agency. But with gusto and short-sightedness the Republicans plunged ahead and created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Since WEDC opened their doors there has been far more negative news than anything one could be proud to hang their hats on.
The news this week is just pure devastation for Walker and his administration. For more than a year WEDC has lost track of $8 million in past due loans. To put that another way it is 16% of the agency’s $51 million loan portfolio, or 99 businesses that WEDC failed to track.
In addition to getting a handle on this grave political error for Walker there needs to be found a remedy for the concerns raised by the Department Housing and Urban Development for WEDC’s failure to follow strict policies. In addition WEDC needs to address why it offered tax credits to a company bidding on a state contract.
How in the world did Wisconsin get to such a sorry place? This news makes all those brave press releases from Walker aimed at Illinois businesses who might want to move here sound rather silly.
Wisconsinites should feel the same as State Senator Kathleen Vinehout who labeled this all correctly by saying “It’s infuriating.”
It was the Republicans who sold themselves as being sound fiscal managers, and frugal stewards of the taxpayer money. But look at what they do when given the chance to perform!
Dismantling the Commerce Department that was run by professionals and creating WEDC with too many political hacks has proven to be a major embarrassment.
The warnings that Democrats gave about the need to be more careful with planning a new state agency should have been heeded, and now in retrospect those warnings seem pretty damn smart.
“This just proves that when the Legislature rushed through the changes to abolish the Department of Commerce and create the WEDC, it shows that what we had warned – that there needed to be real planning to handle this transition – has now been proven true,” (State Senator) Lassa said.
An audit committee report should be started at once to find if any shady dealings or improprieties have taken place at WEDC. Given the scale of the problems within the agency there needs to be a total accounting for everything.