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LAB audit shows issues plaguing state's job creation agency


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s job creation agency has failed to follow state laws, gave tax money to ineligible projects, and did not adequately monitor grant recipients.

That’s what the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau said Wednesday about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The public-private agency replaced the old state Commerce Department two years ago. It’s been under the microscope since last year, when it was learned that the agency failed to keep track of past due loans to state businesses for creating jobs.

Governor Scott Walker responded by having former Marshfield Clinic director Reed Hall run the agency, after its previous director Paul Jadin resigned.

Hall said his department is making progress in addressing the issues brought up in the audit. He said many solutions have already been put in place – or are about to be.

Among other things, the audit showed that the WEDC did not verify the performance of 30 companies that got state grants – and the expected results were not met in a-third of those cases. Also, the companies only submitted 45 percent of the reports required by their state awards.

The audit also said the Economic Development Corporation did not have sufficient policies in place to run its programs efficiently – including some policies required by law.

Hall said that in the last fiscal year, the agency was operating under the Commerce Department’s old policies while new ones were being established.