Gov. Walker ran on a promise to create 250,000 jobs in his first four years as Governor. Many economists argued that this goal was likely to be reached with little lifting from Gov. Walker due to natural upticks in the economy. Yet, more than halfway through Gov. Walker’s first term, he is spectacularly failing to meet his own job creation standards and his flagship “jobs agency” – the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) – has become a national embarrassment.
WEDC’s mismanagement and incompetence falls squarely on the Walker Administration because it was the Governor’s brainchild to privatize the Department of Commerce to create the WEDC.
Where was the necessary accountability and oversight? A WEDC spokesman was hired despite being on the delinquent taxpayer list and owing tens of thousands of dollars to Wisconsin in back taxes. A recent audit by the Legislative Audit Bureau found WEDC employees used company credit cards and taxpayer dollars to buy Badger season tickets, alcohol and iTune gift cards. The audit revealed that WEDC repeatedly broke state law, lost track of millions of dollars in taxpayer funded loans, and did not establish proper reporting mechanisms to track taxpayer dollars.
By all standards Gov. Walker’s jobs agency is in turmoil and its failures must be addressed in a bi-partisan fashion to ensure adequate oversight of taxpayer dollars and good-job creation for Wisconsinites.
Phil Neuenfeldt, President