WEDC troubles featured on Capitol City Sunday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WEDC troubles featured on Capitol City Sunday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Even before the recent series of financial missteps at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Democratic lawmakers were calling for more oversight of the agency by the state legislature.

That's the focus of Capitol City Sunday this weekend.

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) chairs the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and joins us to discuss her ideas about what role the legislature should play in making sure the WEDC runs more efficiently.

When the legislature created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2011, Democrats wanted to require the agency to report back to them each year with specifics on job creation numbers.

Republicans blocked that effort.

"I described it as taking the cookie jar, putting it in a dark pantry and putting a sign on the door that says 'just trust me.'  Well, right now that trust was misplaced," said Sen. Vinehout.

Sen. Vinehout says she is glad Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is trying to put more internal checks and balances in place, but says she will once again try to make sure there are some external controls at the legislature's disposal in the 2013 spring session.

"I think that there was pretty clear consensus, not only from the Committee, but hopefully from the Governor and from the agency itself that we need to see major changes.  We've got a lot of details about what those major changes need to look like and it sounds like we've got some agreement," said Sen. Vinehout.

Sen. Vinehout says something has to be done to restore faith with Wisconsin taxpayers and business owners.

"This creates a very difficult situation for me to go back to my constituents and explain to the competitor down the road, who says, 'OK, you know, Joe's Muffler got this extra grant, I didn't get anything and Frank's Muffler's having a hard time too, how am I gonna compete with Joe down the road?'", said Sen. Vinehout. "And what am I gonna say to him? I want to be able to say, 'we know that money is well spent' and I can't say that right now."

Capitol City Sunday airs at 9:00 a.m. on WKOW 27.

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