Replace Department of Commerce with development-focused agency
"Working with the legislature and through executive order, I will replace ( Department of Commerce) with a true economic development agency. I will hire an experienced economic development professional as Executive Director. All regulatory functions will be transferred to other agencies. Existing economic development functions of state agencies, like the Department of Workforce Development, and state affiliated entities, like the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, will be consolidated within the new agency."
Bill has been signed, now the focus is on getting the promised results
Updated: Friday, February 11th, 2011 | By Dave Umhoefer
As rivals for the governor's chair, Republican Scott Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett agreed that Wisconsin's economic development agency needed an overhaul.
"You have to fundamentally change the Department of Commerce from a regulator of commerce to a promoter of commerce," said Walker, who won the post in November 2010.
The notion gained steam after a bipartisan group of economic activists -- including former commerce secretaries under both Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Jim Doyle -- endorsed a more aggressive agency. They authored a study that pointed to states such as Indiana and Georgia and their job recruitment efforts.
Walker made revamping the state Commerce Department a priority in the campaign and part of the legislative agenda he pushed in his first days in office.
Republicans defeated a series of amendments that Democrats said would make the agency more accountable to taxpayers for how it doles out large incentives to businesses. GOP lawmakers said the proposals were either unnecessary or would be taken up later in the state budget bill.
The Legislature approved the partial privatization of the agency and Walker has signed it into law Feb. 9, 2011.
But the full outline of how the agency will function won't be clear until later this year. And Walker's promise included how it would function, as a "development-focused agency.”
So, we're keeping this one at In the Works.
Bill to achieve the change is part of special session agenda
Updated: Friday, January 14th, 2011 | By Dave Umhoefer
One of Scott Walker's first promises, which we have rated Promise Kept, was to call a special legislative session on jobs on the day he was sworn in.
A bill to achieve a Commerce Department makeover was part of the Jan. 3 call for a special session. Lawmakers are considering the proposal to make the department into a public-private agency focused only on job growth. It would be modeled after the approach taken by Indiana.
Since work is underway, and a plan has been introduced, we will move this one to In the Works.
JSOnline, State workers face privatization, Jan. 6, 2011
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