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Proposed bil aims to give lawmakers more control over economic development


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin legislators would have more of a say over the state’s economic development efforts, under a bill being drafted by a Senate Democrat.

Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, who co-chairs the Joint Audit Committee, says lawmakers need to know more about the tax money that’s being spent on things like tax breaks for job creation.

The audit panel held a hearing Wednesday with the head of the state’s public-private Economic Development Corporation and auditors. They talked about the agency’s efforts since it was formed over a year ago – and how it can keep better track of its job creation projects.

In June, the Audit Bureau said 8 state agencies spent millions of dollars on economic projects – but they don’t have a picture of how well those projects are paying off.

Tuesday, the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group said only a small fraction of state business grants are listed on the Internet as required by law.

A spokesman for the Economic Development group said the funding involves several different programs, and each one has to be evaluated on its own. But the head of the Public Interest group said taxpayers shouldn’t have to be auditors in order to find out how they’re money’s being spent – and how much their business investments are paying off.