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WEDC reform package proposed

MADISON (WRN)   Democratic state lawmakers are introducing a broad package of reforms targeting the troubled Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The proposals are aimed at improving accountability and transparency at the job creation agency, after a recent state audit outlined serious problems with reporting and tracking assets at WEDC. State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), who sits on the WEDC board, says the reforms will provide much needed oversight.

Lassa says Democrats are calling for a “major reconstruction of the WEDC board of directors, to finally give it the power and independence that it needs to both ensure the effective management of the organization and protect the interests of Wisconsin taxpayers.”

The proposed changes include requiring WEDC policies to be approved by the full board, more oversight of incentives offered by the agency, and removing the governor as the automatic chair of the board. The chair of the board would instead by elected by the board itself. Board members would also have the power to hire and fire top staff at the agency.

Democrats are also calling for WEDC to set clear job creation goals for companies that receive incentives and for a full report to be released on how money handed out by the agency so far has been used.