By State Representative, Leon D. Young
We all remember Scott Walker’s campaign pledge that he would create 250,000 new jobs in his first four years in office. Needless to say, the governor has fallen dreadfully short of his intended target.
Upon assuming office, Walker made the case that the old Department of Commerce was ineffective in its ability to promote economic expansion to the entire state.
He proposed that a new quasi-public agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), be created to spur greater job creation and economic development.
In a recently released report from Citizen Action of Wisconsin that examined job impact numbers presented by WEDC, there are some very large disparities in the claimed jobs impact between different areas of the state, with impact concentrated in a handful of legislative districts.
Here are some of very interesting findings to consider:
• There are wide variations in the number of “jobs impacted” in each legislative district. While one Assembly district has over 6,000 jobs supposedly projected, 14 Assembly districts have none whatsoever.
In 22 Assembly districts WEDC claims to have impacted over 1,000 jobs, while 25 districts have less than 100 supposedly impacted.
• Republican Assembly districts have close to twice as many jobs projected as Democratic Assembly districts (86 percent more, or 389 more jobs projected on average).
• In the suburban and politically conservative counties of Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee, WEDC claims to have impacted 13,656 jobs.
Conversely, Milwaukee County only has 5,771 jobs projected by WEDC, or under 30 percent of the total projected for the 4 county region.
Since its inception, WEDC has been a complete and utter disaster. There have been numerous instances of gross mismanagement with little accountability.
Now this latest revelation: Walker and WEDC are playing political games in terms of where economic resources are being dispensed.
Wisconsin is 37th in the nation in terms of new job creation.
Clearly, WEDC is failing its mission on so many different levels.