JFC Republicans add earmarks to WEDC, reject Dem accountability motion

JFC Republicans added two earmarks to WEDC grant programs, but rejected a call from Dem committee members to require an annual report on grant recipients who failed to achieve contractually required results.

Dems challenged their GOP colleagues to support their motion, saying Republicans have sought to require similar reports of other agencies, particularly the UW System. Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, said past audits of the agency have identified continued problems with agency grant programs.

The latest audit found, among other things, WEDC awarded tax credits to companies for jobs retained or created outside of Wisconsin.

“Put your accountability where your words are,” Goyke said.

Voting along party lines, the committee approved:

*requiring the agency to provide at least $1 million over the next two years from its economic development fund operations and program account for a program similar to the fab lab grant program created in 2015.

*requiring WEDC to provide a $250,000 grant from the economic development fund operations and programs account to the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership to help with efforts for the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s efforts to secure the next generation of the Air Force’s tanker aircraft.