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In 2012, the chief executive of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall, wrote a letter requesting a $200 million loan from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, which manages the Wisconsin Retirement System public employee pension fund. Hall said the funds would be used to promote startup business growth.
The SWIB rejected the request by the WEDC — of which then-Gov. Scott Walker was board chairman — saying it had to ensure any investment “does not have any adverse effect on its management of WRS assets,” according to documents obtained by the Wisconsin Reporter.
After the SWIB rejected the request, which Hall called “a long shot,” Walker signed a 2013 law creating a fund to invest in Wisconsin businesses — $25 million that was allocated in the state budget.
Critics have pointed out multiple instances of companies underperforming after receiving financial incentives from the WEDC.
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Internet Archive: Walker to public pension fund manager: Can you spare $200 million?
Wisconsin Public Radio: WEDC moves on after state pension managers decline to invest
WisBusiness: Walker signs bill creating $25M venture capital fund
Center for Economic and Policy Research: Scott Walker, Foxconn, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation