The Department of Revenue has revoked $50,000 worth of tax credits from W.W. Grainger, a distributor of industrial and maintenance supplies, after the company failed to create promised jobs, sold subsidiaries employing hundreds of its workers and sent some jobs overseas.
Two former members of Gov. Scott Walker’s cabinet say the administration has had a policy of communicating official business through private channels. The allegations come as the Walker administration faces criticism for cutting public access to internal text messages and other so-called transitory state records.
In its first 15 months of existence, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. awarded $126 million in incentives to 24 companies without a full financial review. Some deals turned out well, others have failed. The largest — up to $62.5 million in tax credits to Kohl’s Corp. — so far has not generated the number of jobs or amount of capital spending promised.
Snapshots of some of the 24 companies that got a piece of the $126 million in state taxpayer subsidies without full financial review from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, address criticism of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Both lawmakers are WEDC board members.
Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for accountability in economic development, generally recommends against taxpayer subsidies for retail companies such as Kohl’s Corp.
The group’s research director, Philip Mattera, said retail positions tend to be low-paid, part-time jobs.
The Milwaukee County executive’s office under Scott Walker “obstructed” a criminal investigation into missing donations to a veterans fund, two investigators alleged Friday in a federal court brief that includes recently unsealed investigative records.
Despite signs of trouble with the companies, Gov. Scott Walker’s jobs agency awarded about $1.4 million in taxpayer money to two northern Wisconsin firms that have now failed to repay the loans.
Sixty pages of drafting documents included only initials and partial names of legislative service agency staffers.
The governor and legislative leaders declined to say whether the governor himself was behind the original measure. A review by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism shows similarities between recent records request denials from the governor’s office and the state Department of Administration and changes inserted in the budget Thursday by Republican leaders — similarities that raise questions about whether Walker himself was involved in the budget proposal.
While cities like Madison, Waukesha and Green Bay thrive economically, northern Wisconsin counties have been left behind in the state’s economic development efforts. Local economic development leaders share stories of being ineligible for economic development programs brought by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency created in 2011 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Northern counties are also receiving proportionally less help from the WEDC, with many local leaders saying they are ineligible or unable to meet basic requirements for certain programs or incentives.
A state law requires that before the DNR can lay off a single permanent staffer, it must let go any limited-term employees or probationary employees with the same job classification. According to numbers DNR furnished the Legislative Fiscal Bureau in early May, the science bureau has 95 LTEs.