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State Senate unanimously approves tighter WEDC controls

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - On a 32-0 vote Tuesday, the Wisconsin Senate agreed to put tighter controls on the state’s troubled Economic Development Corporation.

Green Bay Republican Rob Cowles was among the bill’s main sponsors. He said people need to know where their tax dollars are being spent and, “We have to continue auditing this entity until we feel totally comfortable with it.”

Under the bill, WEDC board members would serve standard six-year terms instead of at the pleasure of the governor. The agency would be audited every year instead of every two years. The agency’s employees must observe state ethics laws.

Also, the Joint Finance Committee would need to give its approval before the corporation can set up a private foundation.

The reform bill now goes to the Assembly.

The WEDC was the subject of a critical audit a few weeks ago. Auditors said the agency did not adopt required policies, and did not keep adequate track of funds given and loaned to businesses for creating jobs.