...WEDC boasts that it has one focus: job creation. Taxpayers may ask, at what cost?
Critics say the board spends fast and loose, handing out multi-million-dollar spiffs to powerful corporations with only limited taxpayer oversight.
“There’s just not enough detail and meat to really make sure that taxpayer money is going to be protected, used efficiently and effectively, and that the jobs that Gov. Walker and the Legislature want to create are going to be created,” Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, said at the time of WEDC was first proposed.
Well, after all, she's a very ambitious Democrat. Or did she see something worth watching?
WEDC says it retained or created 37,000 jobs in fiscal year 2012.
Tracking those jobs WEDC helped to create seems to be a full-time job in itself, and some serious questions have dogged the young agency. From the beginning, lawmakers were concerned that the quasi-public WEDC lacks accountability
[Referring to a similar California agency]: “It’s government trying to micromanage the economy,” said Chris Edwards, an economist at the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C. Libertarian think tank. “Both Republicans and Democrats do it; they can’t seem to help themselves with offering businesses incentives.”
“To me, what they’re doing is distorting the economy. If you give credits to one type of jobs industry, you’re steering the economy to where the government wants it to go. It’s unfair to the businesses that don’t get the breaks that have to pay the high regular rate to fund the breaks to other company,” he said.
There is a defense, voiced by the WEDC spokescritter:
“On the bigger scale of tax credits — should state government be doing it? It’d be a great world if states weren’t doing it,” Thieding said. “You have to stay in the game, otherwise you could be losing businesses to other states. It would be a different world if all states weren’t doing tax incentives to retain or recruit a company from other states.”
It wouldn't be a problem at all if the State simply zeroed out "corporate" income taxes, would it? After all, no "corporation" PAYS income tax--only its shareholders (and customers) do.
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