Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin testifies before the Economic Development Committee in support of Governor Scott Walker’s proposal that would convert the state agency into a public-private hybrid to focus on job creation. Most panel members agree the bill lacks details. Jadin says it’s just the first step.
Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) says there were some excellent points made during the hearing, among them is to have better continuity. The Kenosha Democrat believes everyone supports Walker’s desire to create 250,000 jobs in the state, but Barca has three concerns about the bill.
“One deals with making sure taxpayers investments are fully protected … secondly ensuring we have transparency and accountability in the Wisconsin tradition of open government and third that this not only be fully audit-able, but it also be actionable.”
Jadin says most of the 340 Commerce workers can make the transition to the renamed Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and, he says, they can bring their benefits with them. However, they won’t be unionized state employees.
Opponents of the restructuring say similar initiatives in other states have led to the misuse of public funds, excessive salaries and bonuses, conflicts of interests in subsidy awards, cronyism, corruption, and exaggerated jobs creation claims.