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Madeline Heim
By Madeline Heim July 23, 2021

More than halfway through Evers’ term, WEDC looks here to stay

We wrote in 2019 that the governor had flipped his position on dissolving and replacing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a public-private partnership that oversees grants and loans given to businesses in exchange for the promise of new jobs. 

On the campaign trail, Evers had been critical of WEDC, created by former Gov. Scott Walker, calling the agency "a constant source of controversy, inefficiency and ineffectiveness" in a 2018 interview. 

By November of that year, he had announced plans to replace it with a state agency.

State Republicans blocked him from taking action by giving themselves control over WEDC for the first nine months of his term in 2019. 

Nearly two years after he regained control, however, those plans have not materialized, and WEDC is still up and running. 

Evers spokesperson Britt Cudaback said the agency has entered "a new era of transparency and accountability" under the governor and WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

Maybe so. But that was not the promise made.

We rate this Promise Broken.


Our Sources

Office of Gov. Tony Evers

Eric Litke
By Eric Litke March 26, 2019

WEDC plans on hold amid legal battles, September changeover

Criticizing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. as a "constant source of controversy, inefficiency and ineffectiveness," Gov. Tony Evers pledged while campaigning to disband the agency.

He also said he would "replace it and return the majority of economic development dollars to local communities and regional organizations."

That plan hit a snag when Republicans passed a series of lame-duck bills that gave the state Legislature control over the WEDC for the first nine months of 2019. That is, the start of Evers' term. That blocked Evers' ability to act, so we gave Evers a Full Flop for a promise to dissolve WEDC in his first budget.

But the Republican blockade hit a snag of its own March 21, 2019, when a judge blocked all the lame-duck laws, saying they were passed in an illegally convened session (Republicans have moved to appeal). Evers acted shortly thereafter to address other actions blocked by the bills, but he has not yet taken any action against WEDC.

Melissa Baldauff, Evers' deputy chief of staff, said Evers is not planning to make any changes at WEDC immediately.

"Once the governor regains control of WEDC he will be in a position to begin laying out a vision for the state's economic development agency," she said in an email.

That makes this promise Stalled.


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