Interview: Evers’ budget won’t propose scrapping WEDC

Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who during the campaign said he wanted to scrap the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., says in a new interview he won’t propose doing away with the agency in his first budget.

He also hopes to propose changes to WEDC that he said would bring more transparency to the agency. But he wasn’t sure those ideas were “budget worthy.”

“I just think that having more accountability for that organization and transparency, I think, is important,” Evers told WisPolitics.com. “Whether WEDC stays or doesn’t stay, that’s something we have to look at.”

Evers also told WisPolitics.com he won’t announce a new leader for WEDC in his upcoming round of cabinet picks after Republicans changed state law last month to give that power to the agency board until Sept. 1.

Evers said it was a mistake for Republicans to take away the power for the guv to appoint the leader of the WEDC. The board, which will temporarily have a majority of its appointments from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, will have that power until Sept. 1.

Evers said he has met with current agency CEO and Secretary Mark Hogan and didn’t close the door to retaining him in nine months.

In the meantime, Evers said he’s been meeting with business leaders and organizations to gather information on what they think WEDC should look like, as well as its leadership.

“We’ll find a good leader come Sept. 1, whether it’s Mark Hogan or someone else,” Evers said.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said it’s “encouraging” that Evers won’t propose scrapping WEDC in his first budget.

But in a statement, he raised concerns about comments Evers made in other media interviews today about possible tax hikes.

“With Republican leadership in the Legislature, our state’s tax burden is at a 50-year low – we will continue in our commitment to keeping taxes low for hard-working families and making sure that Wisconsin stays open for business,” Fitzgerald said.

See more from the interview in today’s PM Update.

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