FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 6/12/2012 Contact: Sen. Vinehout 608-266-8546
Legislators rush to create new jobs programs. But seldom do they ask are these programs actually creating jobs.” State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout said.
Vinehout responded to the Legislative Audit Bureau’s recently released overview of economic development programs. The audit shows over six years 61 new programs were created. As of June 2011, Wisconsin had 139 separate economic development programs.
“Do we know how many jobs were created and at what cost to taxpayers?” Vinehout asked. “The answer is ‘not really’.
According to the audit, some agencies did not report necessary information. Some reported incomplete or inaccurate data. The agency charged with job creation – the Department of Commerce- took two and a half years after the law was passed to verify job creators and then looked at only ten companies out of more than 500 companies given awards.
“Four years ago I worked with a bipartisan group to establish a new law to make sure job creation programs actually created jobs,” Vinehout said. “The new law required every agency to develop goals and accountability measures for each economic development program. This audit shows, by Commerce’s own report, we still do not know if 88% of the state’s 139 programs actually created the jobs they promised to create. Agencies are ignoring the law or using loop holes to avoid reporting how many jobs taxpayers’ investment actually created.”
“Taxpayers expect to see results for dollar spent. I am deeply disappointed to see agencies ignoring the state law requiring them to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs and to report on the program results.” Vinehout said.
Wisconsin taxpayers spent more than $226 million on these programs in the 2009-11 state budget.
“Instead of rushing to create a plethora of new jobs programs, we should make sure companies that already received tax dollars actually created promised jobs.” Vinehout concluded.
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