Are the days numbered for the Wisconsin Department of Commerce? At an economic forum in Madison on Monday, Governor-elect Scott Walker said he’d heard too many complaints during the campaign, that the state Department of Commerce is more interested in regulating Wisconsin businesses rather than promoting them. And Walker told reporters he’s considering replacing the agency. “We’re very interested in looking at a public-private partnership, that still has the state having a direct role, a supportive role in promoting economic development, but not necessarily doing that all through a state agency,” said Walker, who cited the example of Indiana’s public-private economic development corporation. “The idea would be to eliminate and replace it. Indiana has an Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Ohio has something similar in terms of their investment fund.”
Walker was responding to a summit of business and education leaders, who have finalized a report entitled Be Bold Wisconsin-The Wisconsin Prosperity Strategy (PDF). Among that report’s numerous recommendations to revive the state’s flagging economy is creation of a public-private jobs creation board. Walker again reiterated that his administration’s focus will be the creation of 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin.