MADISON (WSAU) For the last 16 months Wisconsin’s job creation agency has failed to keep track of whether businesses were paying back tax-funded loans for job growth. As a result, up to 99 businesses are late in making an estimated $8-million in past-due payments to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Exact figures are still being determined.
The agency’s Number-two official, Ryan Murray, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the past-due loans represent about 16-percent of the 51-million tax dollars loaned by the corporation – which was initiated by Governor Scott Walker as a replacement for the old State Commerce Department. He said the agency has no records of its loan collection efforts since June of last year. Murray told the paper quote, “A ball was dropped here a year ago, but the system worked in uncovering it.”
The corporation’s outgoing C-E-O, Paul Jadin, did not mention the loan snafu during a legislative hearing yesterday on a number of problems that have cropped up in the agency. Murray said the agency’s board had not been told about the matter – but members did get briefed later yesterday. Walker was told late last week.
Assembly Democrat Jon Richards of Milwaukee called it quote, “a tremendous abuse of the public trust … and if it had happened at a private business, heads would roll – not just one.” Murray agreed that a quote, “personnel situation” is on the horizon, but he did not elaborate. Murray worked in the governor’s office when he was transferred to the economic agency a few months ago. That was after it w