GOP defends Walker’s job creation agency

GOP defends Walker’s job creation agency
State Capitol

Republicans on the Legislature’s audit committee are defending Gov. Scott Walker’s job creation agency in the face of a report that shows the troubled agency continues to struggle.

State auditors issued a report in May that found over the first six months of 2016 the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation failed to accurately track jobs its awards are supposed to create and retain and handed out $126 million without a formal review. The report also found that delinquent loans from WEDC to business ballooned from $1.3 million at the end of 2014 to $11 million at the end of 2016.

The Legislature’s audit committee held a public hearing on the report Tuesday. Sen. Alberta Darling, a River Hills Republican who sits on the audit committee, pointed out that the audit found WEDC’s administration of loans and grants has improved and lawmakers should focus on the positives.

Committee Democrats said improved administration means only that money is going out the door faster without any verification it’s creating or retaining jobs.