Rep. Kerkman: Audit shows more work needed on WEDC accountability

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman /Contributed photo

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman /Contributed photo

The Wisconsin State Legislature Joint Audit Committee today, co-chaired by state Rep. Samantha Kerkman,  released the following press release  regarding an audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation:

Today, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) released an audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). In fiscal year 2011-12, WEDC administered 30 economic development programs through various grants, loans, local bonds and tax credits. LAB found numerous concerns regarding a lack of accountability and overall insufficiencies at WEDC. WEDC did not have sufficient policies, including some that are statutorily required, to administer its programs effectively. It also had no policies for handling delinquent loan amounts. In addition, LAB noted some awards were made to ineligible recipients or for ineligible projects, and some award amounts exceeded limits specified in statute. LAB noted that information provided by WEDC indicated that selected award recipients submitted 45 percent of required progress reports. “This audit shows there is a significant disconnect between our expectations of WEDC and the reality of their performance with regard to transparency and accountability,” stated Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay). “WEDC needs to take this audit seriously and correct these deficiencies immediately. There is no excuse for breaking state statutes,” continued Senator Cowles. Furthermore, WEDC did not conduct any statutorily required verification of the performance information submitted by grant and loan recipients. This has made it difficult to verify the accuracy of job numbers reported to have been created. LAB also found that some information included in WEDC’s annual program report to the Legislature was incomplete and inaccurate. In reviewing WEDC’s financial and personnel management, LAB found that WEDC did not monitor the amounts spent on each of its programs. “The results of this audit undeniably show that there is much more work to be done at WEDC to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent in accordance with statutory requirements and that the state realizes the returns of its investments to grow Wisconsin’s economy,” said Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Randall). LAB provided numerous recommendations to help ensure the effective administration of WEDC programs. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the audit findings on Thursday, May 9th at 9:30AM at the State Capitol. To obtain a copy of report 13-7, please visit LAB’s website at or call 608­-266-2818.


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