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Posted inFact briefs

Did former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker try to use some of the state pension fund to invest in startup businesses?

Yes. 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.

Posted inEconomy, Government, Scott Walker's Wisconsin

Scott Walker’s untold story: Jobs lacking after big state subsidy of Kohl’s stores

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.

Posted inEconomy, Scott Walker's Wisconsin

Low pay leads to double subsidies for retail companies, group says

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.

Posted inEconomy, Government, Scott Walker's Wisconsin

Most northern counties left behind by Gov. Scott Walker’s jobs agency

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.

Posted inEconomy, Government

Spectrum deal had stealth component

Spectrum Brands began its successful quest for a $4 million award from the state without revealing its identity or that it was already based in Wisconsin, public records show. Its hired consultant also suggested that the backlash over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill made his unidentified client reluctant to pick Madison — where it was, in fact, already located.