WEDC loans scrutinized

A WKOW-TV report has revealed that at least two companies, Eaton Corp. and Plexus Corp., received millions in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) before deciding to outsource some of their labor, forcing the layoffs of Wisconsin workers. Eaton, based in Ireland but with locations in France, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States, was granted up to $1 million in tax credits but has received just $190,000 thus far.

The credits were issued in 2011 on the promise that the company would meet job retention and hiring goals. But in 2013, the company laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and moved those jobs to Mexico. The WEDC then awarded up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for a proposed $54 million expansion in Pewaukee. Eaton Corp. recently announced it would not seek tax credits for that project.

Also in 2011, the WEDC reportedly granted Plexus Corp. of Neenah tax credits up to $2 million, plus up to $15 million in 2012. Of that, the company has received $4.7 million. But in July 2012, Plexus laid off 116 people and relocated jobs elsewhere. Plexus has offices in China, Germany, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and Thailand.

WEDC Spokesperson Mark Maley told WKOW that the WEDC will work with companies that have plans to expand and create jobs in Wisconsin, even if other company divisions plan to relocate jobs elsewhere.