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May 6, 201309:01 AMVan Lines

with Joe Vanden Plas

Is Walker taking his eye off the ball?

(page 2 of 2)

Perhaps the governor, having survived a recall attempt, believes his re-election is virtually assured, but the difficulties at the WEDC are raising questions of competency. Since Mr. Walker is not going to come close to reaching his goal of 250,000 new jobs in four years – something former governor Tommy Thompson achieved during his first term – he can expect his Democratic Party opponent to link this disappointment to the continuing problems at the state’s primary economic development agency.

I once praised Walker for what I thought was a singular focus on economic development, but I stand corrected. It would appear he’s not focused enough, so perhaps it’s time for him to forget about the presidential talk, put that book project on hold, and focus on the task at hand.

To national Republicans, he might be a rock star, but the people of Wisconsin might decide it’s fine for him to run for president – as the former one-term governor of Wisconsin. 

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May 7, 2013 10:12 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

You're worried that his eye is off the ball. When was it ever on the ball? What has he done that's promoted one job in this state? Act 10? Merely took a lot of spending money out of the economy. Corporate tax cuts? Business will hire because there's demand not because of a tax cut. And there's less demand (see the first item). Items like concealed carry, school choice, the wolf hunt, etc. seem to be much more important to the current folks in charge. I don't now, nor have ever seen the "laser-like" focus on jobs.

May 7, 2013 12:34 pm
 Posted by  Torrey

Anon - you said Act 10 "took a lot of spending money out of the economy." That is not correct. Any money that was saved by Act 10 meant more money in the pockets of taxpayers. The net amount of money in circulation available for spending did not increase or decrease - it merely shifted in terms of where it was located. If you confiscate $10 from me and put it in your pocket, does that mean spending money was added to the economy? And if I take take it back from you, does that mean money was taken out of the economy? An emphatic "NO" on both counts.

That said, Joe's article does highlight some valid criticism of the Governor.

May 7, 2013 06:02 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

First off Act 10 did take a bunch of money out of the economy since it essentially cut benefits for non-union staff working on research and other grants - you know the billion bucks in especially scientific research the UW raises that everyone talks about here and at Thrive about as the future for really growing our economy. Well you cut the staff in that areas 5% and being restricted grants that money did not go back to the taxpayers- it either went back to the funders or wait for future audits...That is tens of millions that left the local economy but conservatives in Dane County (and oddly many liberals too) don't really care about local impacts as long as ideological goals are met.

In terms of WEDC- well I work at a non-profit -we handle $2.4 million in grants funds with about 350 subcontractors. Do you know what our margin of error on an audit is?

$700 -- I don't think we have ever had any major problems in 30 years.

So when I see something like the WEDC audit I want to puke. This is mismanagement at a level no one would allow anyone but political hacks to have and stay open.

There are folks right now walking around Madison working at various non-profits earning in the mid 30's that could set up and run a better grants tracking system than WEDC has. But most of those folks haven't worked campaigns of contributed large amounts to candidates.

This will probably turn out to be worse than crony capitalism and more like outright theft. Having spent my first 40 years in Chicago this looks a lot more like standard Daley era corruption than anything else and that is sad because Wisconsin was so much better than that.

From that experience though in these cases,Walker's eye probably is on the ball and that is not job development but paying off his cronies.

And I hope that those of you who backed him for better job development and economic growth won't just accept an agenda where economic development devolves to having the ability to shoot something and eat it...

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