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News of the Day - 5/22/15
Finance Committee Votes for Changes to WEDC
The Legislature’s finance committee has approved a host of changes to Gov. Scott Walker’s floundering job creation agency, including removing the governor as chairman, dramatically reducing its reserves and eliminating a proposed $55 million in grants to fund regional loans.
WEDC would be required to reduce its reserves to one-sixth of its estimated annual administrative expenditures each year. The reserves would be reduced by $12 million in the upcoming fiscal year to reflect that change. The finance committee would control about $11.3 million of that money.
The agency would be required to distribute the remaining $750,000 in grants to the Midwest Energy Research Consortium; Northcentral Technical College; Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin, an economic development agency in that area; and the Marathon County Economic Development Corp.
The proposal makes no mention of WEDC’s loan program. Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, the committee’s co-chairman, told reporters during a news conference that Republicans support “winding” the program down. He offered no specifics.
Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said in an email to The Associated Press that the plan “is in line with prior actions,” pointing out the governor had proposed removing all elected officials from the Forward Wisconsin Development Authority.
“These provisions,” she said, “are not major departures from what the Governor has proposed and discussed publicly.”
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