Monday, July 28, 2014

Today in WEDC corruption...

Well, despite the Walker Administration's best attempts to cover up damaging revelations coming from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, we had more bad news from WEDC today. And it comes from the guy who's been all over this story this month- Channel 27's Greg Neumann in Madison.
On the same day Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) proposed the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) consider a ban of financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs, 27 News learned at least four more companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs have benefited from WEDC tax credits.
And look who's now all of a sudden concerned about this.
"It probably should have been done a long time ago, but it makes sense now," Gov. Walker told 27 News. "Our focus is on helping companies add jobs, invest capital and put more people to work here in the state."

In fact, Gov. Walker went a step further, adding to Rep. Barca's idea.

"Outsourcing not just overseas, but frankly I think, even the question of providing assistance to companies that send jobs anywhere outside the state of Wisconsin, whether its to China or Illinois," said Gov. Walker.

The board agreed to draft language that will be voted on at WEDC's September board meeting.
This is a classic case of overreaction to an issue that Walker and WisGOP wanted to dwindle and die, but instead just got bigger, and made WEDC and Walker look worse and worse. "It probably should have been done a long time ago", Scotty? YOU'RE THE CHAIR OF THE WEDC BOARD, AND YOU HAVE BEEN SINCE IT STARTED!

As WEDC's own press release notes, Walker was the guy who copied the ALEC model legislation introduced the concept of WEDC mere days after he took office - even before he "dropped the bomb" with Act 10.
The statutory formation of WEDC was set in motion in January 2011 by Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature with the calling of a Special Session focused on job creation. This session produced 2011 Wisconsin Act 7 – a law which created WEDC as a public-private corporation to replace the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

The Act designated WEDC as the lead economic development organization in the state and charged it with: (1) developing and implementing economic programs to provide business support, expertise, and financial assistance to companies that are investing and creating jobs in Wisconsin; (2) supporting new business startups and business expansion and growth in Wisconsin; and (3) developing and implementing any other programs related to economic development in Wisconsin. (I don't see outsourcing while pocketing taxpayer dollars on this list)

During the strategic planning process that started after adoption of Act 7, WEDC examined the functions of Commerce and developed a transition plan to identify the economic development functions that needed to be retained within the new WEDC and those that needed to be moved to other state agencies. This was done prior to WEDC officially starting operation on July 1, 2011.
But despite years of untracked funds and companies failing to follow through on job creation, it's only now that Walker seems interested in following up on what companies do once they get the WEDC write-offs from taxpayers. Guess those poll numbers must really suck, eh Scotty?

But wait, there's more. The other group that's been all over the WEDC disaster has been One Wisconsin Now, which pointed out that recipients of WEDC assistance have given over $1 million to Walker's campaign, and another $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. And as OWN's Scot Ross pointed out, they've gotten quite a nice payback from their investment.
"Gov. Walker has failed to create the jobs he promised us and given WEDC's incompetence, the public needs to know more than ever the way Gov. Walker is spending our money and that decisions are being based on the merits, not on who's donating to his campaign," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Gov. Walker's donors have received 60 percent of the nearly $1 billion of taxpayer funds given out by WEDC. Gov. Walker sat by while WEDC gave money to companies that then outsourced Wisconsin jobs. And rather than change the culture of cronyism, corruption and incompetence of his administration, Gov. Walker is now trying to deny the public's right to know. It is utter arrogance by Gov. Walker to think the public won't see this for what it is: a desperate reaction to his sagging poll numbers."

A recent report from One Wisconsin Now found that owners or employees of 30 percent of businesses receiving assistance from WEDC contributed to Gov. Walker's campaign or the Republican Governors Association (RGA).
So naturally, the state's largest newspaper has been covering this continuing scandal, right? Well, it's definitely on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's front page, but the story concentrates on the anti-outsourcing proposal put forth today, ignores the fact that more WEDC-funded companies have outsourced, and instead concentrates the second half of the story on another lame anti-Burke ad that Walker made.

Hmm, it's almost like WEDC advertises with JournalComm, and that the newspaper editors and Journal Comm CEOs don't want to lose their ad money by telling the truth and making them look bad. Almost.

I'll let James Rowen at the Political Environment have the last word.
He's presiding over the removal of Wisconsin jobs, and paying his friends to do it, with our money, to boot.

A variation on pay-to-play?

What a scandal.

What a hack.

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