Legislators Demand Accountability, Transparency in WEDC
Madison – Today, members of the Wisconsin State Legislature submitted a letter to Reed Hall, the interim CEO and Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). This letter, signed by over two dozen Democratic legislators, demanded that Hall rectify the recent missteps of this public-private entity by implementing stronger accountability and transparency measures immediately.
In a public hearing on October 17, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee brought to light some major concerns with WEDC. These include circumventing Wisconsin’s fair and competitive bidding process, racking up a deficit within its first two years of operation, ignoring federal and state laws when giving out $9.6 million in grants, and losing track of $69.3 million in loans.
The letter calls on WEDC to ensure taxpayer dollars are properly safeguarded and wisely invested by immediately implementing common sense changes. These include setting specific benchmarks for economic development program participants, remodeling the existing Web site used to track economic programs, and providing results of the internal Schenk audit and updates on the lost loan funds.
The problems that have plagued WEDC since its inception—instability, lack of oversight and accountability, and putting partisanship before economic development—go against the reason WEDC was created in the first place. Wisconsin’s taxpayers cannot afford to wait until the next legislative session begins to address the many shortfalls now apparent within WEDC.