Legislative Audit Bureau: WEDC Still Fails at Basic Tasks

Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau, as required by state law, has “completed a biennial financial audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and a program evaluation audit of WEDC’s economic development programs.”

Perhaps the politician-publisher of the Banner, who has hawked these programs so many times, and is himself the recipient of a WEDC award, will trouble himself to read the audit in full and respond through his publication. This isn’t, to be sure, the first disappointing audit for the WEDC. (I’ve a dedicated category for that agency).

To be serious in one’s views is to defend them competently (or at least make an effort to do so).

The summary and full audit are embedded below.

Consider, among others, these key findings:

WEDC did not contractually require grant and loan recipients to submit information sufficiently detailed to allow it to determine the extent to which jobs were actually created or retained.

The potentially uncollectable balance of loans with repayments 90 days or more past due increased from $1.3 million on December 31, 2014, to $11.0 million on December 31, 2016.

WEDC did not collect sufficiently detailed information from tax credit recipients about their existing employees. Collecting such information will help WEDC determine in future years the extent to which recipients actually created or retained contractually required jobs. In addition, WEDC did not comply with statutes because it did not annually verify jobs-related information submitted by recipients on the extent to which contractually required results were achieved.

WEDC indicated that 192 awards it had made since July 2011 ended through September 2016, including 24 awards (12.5 percent) that WEDC indicated had an expected result of job creation or retention. Thirteen of the 24 awards ended before the contractually specified completion dates and, as a result, the recipients were no longer contractually required to create 183 jobs and retain 1,082 jobs. Eight of the 24 awards reached their contractually specified completion dates.

WEDC cannot be certain about the numbers of jobs created or retained as a result of its awards. Additional actions need to be taken to improve the accuracy of the numbers that WEDC reports in its online data regarding jobs that were created or retained as a result of the awards it made.

Legislative Audit Bureau Brief on WEDC, May 2017:

Download (PDF, 166KB)

Legislative Audit Bureau Full Audit on WEDC, May 2017:

Download (PDF, 1.46MB)