Comments on Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Audit

From executive director Lori Compas:

When I read the story about the WEDC audit this morning, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “This is really, really bad for business. I hope it doesn’t make national news.”

And I just now saw that the Associated Press has picked up the story.

We can post all the “Open for Business” signs we want. But when Wisconsin consistently ranks at or near the bottom in national job growth rankings, when environmental regulations are relaxed for certain business owners but not for others, and when our state’s economic development organization is embroiled in yet another scandal, our state’s proud reputation as a fair and stable place to do business erodes even further.

The Wisconsin Business Alliance sees government as a partner in maintaining a level playing field for all Wisconsin businesses. Careful oversight and consistent enforcement are necessary to ensure that rule-breakers don’t end up being rewarded for unethical behavior.

I’m sure the vast majority of WEDC’s employees are hard-working and fully committed to a healthy economic future for our state. The entity itself is not the problem. But WEDC’s leadership team has obviously experienced serious lapses in judgement over the past two years. We see the audit as a necessary first step toward doing what should have been done before the Department of Commerce was dissolved: ensuring that our tax dollars are carefully managed and thoughtfully invested.