Walker puts new steps in place after WEDC error

DOA says Walker never got tax break letter
Walker puts new steps in place after WEDC error

Gov. Scott Walker said the state’s semi-private economic development agency will put new safeguards in place after it offered tax breaks to a Wisconsin company contingent on it winning a state bid.

Walker told members of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation board at its Thursday meeting that from now on WEDC will ask companies if they are submitting or intend to submit a bid for state work before offering them incentives.

Walker called that a good step at increasing internal control.

Procedures of the agency have come under question after it made a tax break offer to information systems company Skyward in March, then rescinded it earlier this month after Walker’s administration raised questions because the company was bidding on a $15 million state project.

Walker’s administration said the governor never received a March 22 letter offering tax incentives to the Wisconsin company if it won a $15 million contract, even though his office was copied in on the correspondence.

In the letter to Stevens Point-based Skyward, WEDC head Paul Jadin said he and the governor were “firmly committed to doing everything possible” to award the incentives.

Jadin rescinded the offer on June 18 after Walker’s legal office raised concerns as bids were still being accepted to run the statewide information system.

Offering Skyward incentives while others are bidding on the same project gives Skyward an advantage others don’t have.

Walker’s Department of Administration spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster told The Associated Press the governor never received the letter from Jadin.

Webster said from now on all letters from WEDC copying in the governor will actually be sent to him.