MADISON (WKOW) -- In a new campaign ad, Governor Scott Walker goes after his Democratic opponent Mary Burke over a $12.5 million decision she made during her time as Wisconsin secretary of commerce.
The Governor says that decision didn't pay off, while Burke is defending it.
In 2006, Burke signed off on a $12.5 community block development grant awarded to the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, so it could buy property adjacent to the 400 acres of land pharmaceutical giant Abbott Labs had purchased in Pleasant Prairie.
"It was a great opportunity for the state," Burke told 27 News at a campaign stop in Mazomanie Tuesday. "You don't often get a chance to have a Fortune 500 company locate a headquarters in Wisconsin."
The state's hope was that Abbott would move its headquarters there from Illinois, even though the company had not given any commitment to do so.
"We were happy to support that deal and if you look at the paperwork, it certainly has clawback provisions if it doesn't go forward," said Burke, referring to provisions that would allow the state to recoup its money if the project failed.
But at his own campaign stop in Oregon Tuesday morning, Gov. Walker disputed that fact.
"There's no provision in there. If they've got it, they can provide it because its not in the language we found," said Gov. Walker.
The truth is somewhere in between.
The original award says that if at least 2,400 jobs aren't created within 10 years, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance must sell the land and pay the state back.
But that $12.5 million originally came to the state from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has already determined the project won't meet its goals and is demanding the money back.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration has assured HUD that amount would be included in the 2015-17 state budget for repayment.
Gov. Walker says the ad serves as a good example for voters of what the future would look like with Mary Burke as Governor. Burke says Walker is doing whatever he can to distract from his own record, which has Wisconsin last in the midwest in job creation.
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