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Hansen Says Governor’s Admission of Outsourcing Problems at WEDC is Not Enough

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Saturday, 02 May 2015 in Wisconsin

walker-no-jobsMADISON - On Thursday, Governor Scott Walker told WKOW TV 27 Madison that he was open to more sanctions against companies that take state job creation money and then outsource Wisconsin jobs.

This is a major reversal for the Walker, whose administration has repeatedly denied claims by Citizen Action of Wisconsin and others that it is still perfectly legal for companies to outsource and to also receive large grants, loans, and tax credits from the Governor’s jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Walker's admission followed an announcement last Wednesday by Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay), who said he was drafting an outsourcing accountability bill. Senator Hansen’s bill bans companies who receive public economic development money and then outsource jobs from state aid for a period of five years.

dave-hansen-gbIn a statement released Friday, Sen. Hansen acknowledged Gov. Walker’s admission of outsourcing problems at WEDC. Hansen said:

“It is heartening to hear the Governor admit there are problems with businesses applying for and receiving tax payer assistance from WEDC on the promise they will create jobs here in Wisconsin only to turn around and send Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries or other states."

However, it is clear that Sen. Hansen believes Walker's admission of problems at the WEDC last week is too little, too late for the troubled agency.

"Governor Walker and WEDC officials acknowledged the outsourcing problem last summer yet so far they have made little if any effort to stop it. In addition to paying back the tax dollars they received, businesses that commit this kind of fraud should be banned from receiving any taxpayer assistance for a minimum of five years," Hanson said.

Walker's plan of re-branding WEDC under a new name and merging it with WHEDA will not be enough, says Hansen, to make taxpayers forget about the disaster that WEDC has proven to be or stop the continued use of tax dollars to help companies ship their jobs overseas.

Hansen concludes Walker's plan does not "provide much hope that such a move will solve WEDC’s problems rather than hurt WHEDA. Without fundamental changes that put safeguarding the taxpayer’s money first and foremost the merger between WEDC and WHEDA is bound to fail.”

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Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

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