On the same day that Gov. Scott Walker signed right to work legislation into law, a new report revealed that his jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), has once again failed to track taxpayer funding and disclose how tens of millions of dollars were spent.
“It is disappointing that Gov. Walker has become so distracted by his presidential ambitions that his administration has once again ignored the law and failed to account for taxpayer spending,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “With a self-inflicted $2.2 billion budget deficit, it is troubling that Republicans have lost track of millions in taxpayer dollars. This embarrassing and financially troubling report is yet another example why Wisconsin needs a full-time Governor who is focused on the important issues here at home.”
Walker’s WEDC has been plagued by scandals and fiscal mismanagement since its creation in 2011. Audits have revealed that the WEDC awarded funding to ineligible businesses and ineligible projects, failed to meet job creation and performance benchmarks, and allowed staff to use agency credit cards to buy alcohol, football tickets and iTunes gift cards.
The latest data has shown Wisconsin’s economy remains sluggish despite strong national economic growth. While other Midwestern states like Minnesota are seeing strong job growth and budget surpluses, Walker and legislative Republicans are struggling to address the $2.2 billion budget deficit they created.
In his 2015-17 state budget, Walker has proposed reducing legislative oversight of the WEDC and limiting public transparency.