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home : opinions : opinions October 20, 2014


7/29/2014 8:14:00 AM
Tax dollars squandered
Jeanne Larson, Phillips

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/264113781.html) reports results of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages-the government's most reliable source of employment data and the one Walker endorsed as the authoritative measure of job trends at the state level-as follows:
*Instead of 250,000 new private-sector jobs, as Walker promised, the state is on pace for less than half that many in Walker's first term;
*Wisconsin ranked 37th of 50 states in private-sector job growth in 2013. Wisconsin averaged 1.3% in annual private-sector job growth since 2010; the national average, 2.1%.
Walker replaced the State Department of Commerce with WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation), a quasi-private entity that Walker said would spur economic development. Despite Walker's unwavering support, WEDC failed to boost Wisconsin's economy.
"W is for WEDC - Gov. Scott Walker's Privatized Commerce Department: A Case Study in Corruption, Cronyism and Incompetence," (onewisconsinnow.org) 5-29-14, by Jenni Dye, lists key findings:
1) Walker received more than $2 million direct and indirect campaign benefit from WEDC recipients. Walker donors account for only 30% of the recipients of WEDC incentives but received nearly 60% ($570,021,034) of total funding ($974,659,130 through 2013);
2) WEDC economic development dollars are not resulting in promised job creation;
3) WEDC recipients feature companies engaged in health and safety violations, mass layoffs and conflicts of interest.
Under Walker nearly $1 billion of our WEDC tax dollars were awarded to companies, a disproportionate share of which went to Walker's supporters, who in turn made campaign donations to Walker. Walker's administration and campaign are perpetuating the myth, now incorrectly held by 51% of voters (law.marquette.edu), that Wisconsin's job growth is as good as or better than other states.
Contact Governor Walker (115 East Capitol, Madison WI 53702, 608-266-1212, govgeneral@wisconsin.gov) to express your dissatisfaction with his and WEDC's performance.

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