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WEDA Responds to Suggested Restructuring of WEDC

Sunday, May 17, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian Doudna
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For Immediate Release

 

May 18, 2015

Contact: Brian Doudna, Executive Director
Wisconsin Economic Development Association

608-255-5666

 

WEDA Responds to Suggested Restructuring of WEDC

Wisconsin must remain focused on competitive economic development programs

 

Madison, Wis.  – The recent Legislative Audit Bureau’s (LAB) operational audit of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) highlighted the need for improvement in a select number of operational areas. The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) recognizes the concerns identified by the LAB, but also recognizes the solid progress made by WEDC since the last LAB review. As economic development practitioners across the state, we feel strongly about the need to build upon WEDC success and enhance Wisconsin’s economic development programs.

 

“Wisconsin must have a diversified portfolio of impactful economic development programs to remain competitive domestically and internationally," says Christian Tscheschlok, WEDA president and executive director of Washington County Economic Development Corporation. “Different project types and sizes across Wisconsin's diverse rural and urban landscape require that the State possess a nimble, responsive economic development toolbox.”

 

“Our Association and members agree that we should have performance based economic development financial programs,” states WEDA Executive Director Brian Doudna. “WEDA will immediately implement outreach efforts focused on how to align the needs of communities with the essential performance based economic development goals of the State of Wisconsin.”

 

Late last week, the administration made recommendations to phase out WEDC lending activities. While WEDA acknowledges there have been missteps, public sector lending represents one of the core financial tools commonly found within a competitive economic development toolbox. 

 

“Economic development is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a highly competitive environment where various financial tools are leveraged to facilitate a compelling business case for a Wisconsin location,” states James Otterstein, economic development manager of Rock County Economic Development Agency.

 

Eric Turner, executive director of Dunn County Economic Development Corporation, notes, “The WEDC’s economic development loan programs are critical in advancing projects, because in some cases, these loan programs are the only business financing tool available for a municipality to spur economic growth.”

 

Over the past 40 years, WEDA has served as the voice of economic development, continually working with agency leadership, the legislature and the Governor’s office to build a stronger portfolio of programs that service the needs of Wisconsin’s businesses and communities. As the Joint Finance Committee and the full legislature review WEDC’s budget and programs over the next few weeks, WEDA looks forward to continuing this mutual beneficial partnership and welcomes the opportunity to provide value-added input.

 

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The Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the economy of the State of Wisconsin. Founded in 1975, WEDA’s economic development professionals and active volunteers are dedicated to making Wisconsin a better place to live and work through economic advancement that focuses on retaining and expanding existing businesses; facilitating investment and entrepreneurship; and, attracting new companies, employment opportunities and innovation capital.

 


 


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