Committee Withholds Budget From Troubled WEDC


The legislature’s budget committee voted Thursday night to at least temporarily withhold money for Wisconsin’s troubled jobs agency.

The move was prompted by an audit showing that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation had no way to track delinquent loans, had no way to track jobs created and in some cases awarded grants in violation of state law. The plan passed by majority Republicans would require the agency known as WEDC to, in one lawmaker’s words, “clean up their shop.” WEDC could then come back to the legislature’s budget committee to ask for new funding in December. Sheboygan GOP Senator Joe Leibham called it a severe step.

“I mean we’re basically saying this agency could be gone in a year if they don’t step up and continue to improve.”

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Democrats voted against the move, saying there was better way to handle an agency whose wheels had come off. Racine Rep. Cory Mason said they should cut its budget.

“You want to give an agency that has very little accountability and not a lot to show for the work they’ve done more money. We want real accountability before they get another nickel.”

The measure approved by Republicans would also require WEDC employees to follow the state’s ethics code, something they don’t have to do now.