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As I See It

No republican support for plan to replace WEDC



The problems at Wisconsin’s chief job creation agency have been well documented. But still state lawmakers have done nothing to reform the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. However, now there appears to be growing support for scrapping the agency and starting over. A couple lawmakers are proposing replacing WEDC with the Wisconsin Department of Economic Opportunity. Representatives Julie Lassa and Peter Barca are right that WEDC can’t simply be rebranded, or given cosmetic changes. The problems there run too deep. Losing track of loans, giving money to companies not eligible, and massive turnover have plagued the agency. Since September, nine of the top leadership positions at WEDC have changed, including a new CEO. And let’s not forget, this agency hasn’t exactly been doing the job it was created to do…create jobs. Wisconsin ranks near the bottom among Midwestern states for job creation. And we’re hearing more about layoffs, at places like Oscar Mayer, Harley Davidson and Tyson Foods, than we are hearing about any new jobs these days. So it is clear something has to be done, but so far not one Republican lawmaker has signed on to support this legislation. That is a shame, because we can’t continue with the status quo any longer.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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