LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—An audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) showed the agency broke state law, failed to adequately track money it awarded and gave money and tax credit to ineligible recipients.
In light of the audit findings, Democrats on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee are calling to delay a vote on the WEDC budget, currently scheduled for Thursday. Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal allocated about $151 million to the WEDC over the next two years.
"The joint finance committee is scheduled to vote on millions of dollars to be appropriated to that agency, and I think we strongly believe that WEDC should not receive a single additional tax payer dollar until there are corrective measures, are implemented to ensure the responsible use of tax payer funding and prevent additional financial mismanagement," said Democrat Sen. Jennifer Shilling.
Gov. Walker called an emergency meeting of the WEDC board for Wednesday at 8 AM to discuss the audit findings. The governor serves as the chair of the board.
The governor's press secretary, Tom Evenson, sent WXOW the following statement in response to that call to delay the vote.
"Governor Walker specifically called for tomorrow's WEDC board meeting to comprehensively address the audit, and any feedback on whether or not to push back is largely dependent on what comes out of that meeting."
Sen. Shilling says the committee can postpone the vote without delaying the budget as a whole. She says the committee hopes to wrap up budget debate by the end of May or first week of June.
Meanwhile, the man hired last month to help the WEDC with its public image has resigned. John Gillespie owes over $35,000 in back taxes to the state, according to the Department of Revenue's delinquent taxpayer list.
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