ICYMI: Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation Continues to Sweep Problems Under the Rug

Sep 21, 2014

As Wisconsin continues to rank dead last in the Midwest in job creation, Scott Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation continues to sweep problems under the rug instead of making meaningful progress to foster economic growth.

That’s according to a new audit released last Friday from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, which found that Walker’s flagship jobs agency had made progress on the millions of dollars worth of troubled or delinquent loans it was handling by simply writing many of them off instead of collecting payment.

Of the $7.7 million decrease in troubled loans, which were uncovered in a series of scathing audits that found WEDC lacked basic accountability measures to track taxpayer funded loans and had spent taxpayer money on alcohol, Badgers tickets, and iTunes gift cards, $3.2 million came from writing off loans that were more than 90 days past due. The loans were transferred to the Department of Administration, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described as “just a bureaucratic shuffle, not a gain for taxpayers.”

Another $3.4 million in past due loans either had their contracts rewritten by WEDC or were forgiven by WEDC in whole or in part.

Even some Republicans expressed concern over WEDC’s failure to substantively address the problem of troubled loans. The Journal Sentinel also reports that Republican state Rep. Samantha Kerkman said in a statement, “I am concerned that the bulk of the reduction in potentially uncollectable loan balances was not due to collection efforts, but rather from shifting past due loans to the Department of Administration and amending loan contracts to defer repayments.”

The audit’s finding came just one day after the release of the latest, most accurate federal jobs numbers, Walker’s “gold standard” QCEW figures, showed that Wisconsin ranks dead last — 10th out of 10 states — in job creation in the Midwest and the latest monthly jobs numbers showed that Wisconsin posted a loss of 4,300 private sector jobs in August. That puts Wisconsin at just 8,800 private sector jobs created year to date and puts Walker’s central campaign promise to create 250,000 new private sector jobs officially in the “Promise Broken” column, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s PolitiFact.

“Scott Walker’s Economic Disaster Corporation is a complete and utter failure, just like Walker’s time in office — marked by scandal, a lack of accountability, and an inability to create and retain good-paying jobs,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Monday. “But with Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest in job creation and a ballooning budget deficit on the horizon due to Walker’s failed policies, we can’t afford an unaccountable jobs agency that sweeps problems under the rug and doesn’t understand economic growth.”