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Citizen Action accuses WEDC of funneling jobs to Republican districts

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation logo
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation logo

UNDATED (WXPR) -- ­­­­­­­­­­Citizen Action of Wisconsin is claiming the state's private job generating agency is funneling jobs to places in Republican districts and mostly ignoring Democratic districts.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation says that is not true.

Citizen Action is known for leaning Democratic in it's viewpoints.  On its website, their analysis claims fewer jobs were generated in the city of Milwaukee. Citizen Action of Wisconsin leader Robert Kraig says the state found jobs in the more Republican suburban areas. "And weird situations where in one case $85,000 impacted 109 jobs, another case where $2 million dollars invested and zero jobs impacted, so there's a real question about what's being done with public money."

The group's Kevin Kane says their numbers show some disparity. "In one small Assembly district, the claim is over 6,000 jobs projected for that one small Assembly district, yet 14 Assembly districts have no jobs impacted by WEDC whatsoever. 22 Assembly Districts (are claimed) to have impacted over a thousand jobs where there's 25 districts with less than 100. So there's a very large variation."

Kane says the Northwoods doesn't show as wide of a variable as in more Democratic areas of central Wisconsin, But WEDC spokesperson Mark Maley says they don't make decisions based on politics. He says often interested companies request to go to a specific area and aren't put there as a political favor. "What we're focused on is economic development all over the state. We work withcompanies in all corners of the state. In order to make that happen, we absolutely do not make any political favorites or geographical favorites when it comes to granting awards."

Maley says Amazon came to them specifically requesting a site near the Illinois border, as an example. He says they recently awarded a million dollar grant to the city of Milwaukee to renovate an old automotive facility, but he says that won't show up on the Citizen's Action report because jobs haven't been created yet.

 

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