WKOW in Madison is reporting that Scott Walker and his flagship jobs agency awarded millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to companies that later outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries.
Both the Menomonee Falls-based Eaton Corporation and the Plexus Corporation in Neenah reportedly received millions in financial rewards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to create jobs in Wisconsin, only to layoff workers whose jobs were outsourced to facilities in foreign countries.
In 2011, Scott Walker's flagship job creation agency awarded Eaton Corp up to $1 million in tax credits if it met job creation and retention goals. In 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees from its Pewaukee Cooper Power Systems plant and announced it was moving the jobs to Mexico. It took WEDC less than a year after the layoffs to award up to $1.36 million in additional tax credits for the proposed expansion at the same Pewaukee Cooper Power Systems plant.
Walker's WEDC also awarded Plexus Corp. up to $2 million in tax credits in 2011 and up to a whopping $15 million in 2012. In July of 2012, Plexus announced laying off 116 employees; those workers then received federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits - benefits only available to workers laid off due to outsourcing.
If it sounds like an all too familiar Scott Walker pay-to-play scheme, that's because it is. Campaign finance records show Cooper Power Systems executives contributed $4,305 from 2011 through 2013, including $4,080 to Walker. Plexus Corporation executives contributed $1,395 to state, and legislative candidates during the period, including $640 to Walker and Eaton Corporation executives gave $833 – all to the governor.
"It's no secret that Scott Walker has failed on job creation or that WEDC has been mired in scandal since its hasty, ill-conceived inception," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. "Once again Walker's fiscal irresponsibility is showing as he uses the taxpayers' money to benefit his campaign donors who then ship Wisconsin jobs overseas instead of creating good-paying jobs here in Wisconsin that will help improve our dead last in the Midwest ranking on job growth. Wisconsin deserves better than Scott Walker's failed leadership and mismanagement, and in November voters will choose Mary Burke, a proven leader with a plan to create jobs right here in Wisconsin."