Last week, Citizen Action released a report on WEDC, Governor Walker's privatized jobs agency that he chairs, showing a number of concerning correlations...
- Republican Assembly districts have close to twice as many jobs projected as Democratic Assembly districts (86% more, or 389 more jobs projected on average).
- The average number of jobs projected in Republican Senate districts is more than twice that of Democratic districts (102% more, or 1,187 more on average).
- There is 1 job allegedly impacted for every 166 Milwaukee County residents, while in heavily conservative Waukesha county 1 job is allegedly impacted for every 36 residents.
- In one Assembly district, over 6,000 jobs were projected while in 14 districts no jobs are projected. That district happens to be held by Republican Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer.
Here's a sample of media on this issue: WXPR Rhinelander Radio (Feb 20, 2014) WEDC: Favoring Republican Districts Over Democratic Ones?
Our report, based on self reported public available data on the WEDC website, raises very important questions about the strategy of the Governor's jobs agency. What is their strategy to create jobs in Wisconsin? Why so much geographic variation and why do districts with Republican districts have so many more jobs projected than Democratic districts?
Governor Walker personally responded to our report:
"Walker says a recent Citizen Action report claiming Walker's job creation division, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, favored placing jobs in Republican districts over Democrat ones is false and biased. 'Completely biased and partisan reports...Just because you have a significant number of business leaders more often than not happen to be Republicans vs. Democrats. We measure success not by party affiliation, we measure success by whether those employers are creating jobs.'"
In his response he claims that the data shows business leaders tend to be more Republican, not that WEDC is favoring certain districts! This does not address the red flags we raised at all. Citizen Action's report looked at the businesses that WEDC invested in and the jobs they projected. We did not look at the political interests of business owners, we looked at the job projections of WEDC in key districts. Our results showed that WEDC was impacting jobs in districts that were already more conservative than not, by substantial numbers.
Walker's WEDC has been a failed jobs strategy. Anyone who tried to responsibly use state resources to improve the economic plight of our state would focus on areas of high return and high need but with the fairness to not overwhelming favor certain districts. Locations with high unemployment or urban hubs where more money in people's pockets have the greatest return. But that is not what we have.
Citizen Action's report outlines clear concerns about the geographic mismatch and partisan correlation of where jobs are being projected. Governor Walker himself tries to discredit our data but fails completely. Don't just take our word for it, the WEDC data is publicly available.