UPDATE: Can WEDC be trusted with Foxconn incentives? - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Can WEDC be trusted with Foxconn incentives?

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A state incentive package worth up to $3 billion that legislators are considering awarding to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn would be be overseen by a state agency with mixed results on tracking such awards and clawing back money from companies that default on them.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) would be tasked with the responsibility of awarding up to $1.5 billion in state income tax credits for job creation and another $1.35 billion for capital investment.

That means WEDC will have to accurately track Foxconn's job creation efforts, which gives Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit) pause.

"WEDC and Governor Walker's administration have a very poor track record of really following through and tracking job creation when they give out dollars to businesses," said Rep. Spreitzer.

His opinion is based on a state audit released in May, which found WEDC has a spotty record of tracking job creation.

"WEDC cannot be certain about the numbers of jobs created or retained as a result of its awards," the Legislative Audit Bureau stated in its report. "Additional actions need to be taken to improve the accuracy of the numbers that WEDC reports in its online data regarding jobs that were created or retained as a result of the awards it made."

Along with troubles tracking job creation numbers, the agency has been inconsistent with efforts to claw back money awarded to companies that later eliminated jobs or outsourced them to other countries.

According to numbers WEDC provided to 27 News on Monday, the agency has revoked 24 awards provided to companies that failed to live up to the terms of their contracts.

WEDC has revoked $9.9 million to date, but could not verify to 27 News how much of that money has actually been paid back.

An agency spokesperson referred 27 News to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for that information, since DOR is the agency charged with collecting on those revocations.

A DOR spokesperson said she was checking on the actual amount recouped.

However, the names of two companies that outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries after receiving job creation tax credits are not on the revocation list. 

Past investigations by 27 News found both Plexus Corp. and Eaton Corp. outsourced jobs after receiving WEDC awards.

In July 2012, Plexus Corp. announced it was laying off 116 workers from its Neenah facility. The USDOL ruled those employees were eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits because the work they were doing was moved to an overseas location.

Plexus Corp. did not identify where it relocated those jobs to in 2012, but it also has offices and interests in the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Romania, Malaysia and Thailand.

Current WEDC records show the company has created 43 out of a planned 350 new jobs at its Neenah location. The company has received a total of $6.9 million in enterprise zone tax credits from the agency for the Neenah project however, due primarily to a $70 million capital investment.

Plexus has received an additional $2 million in WEDC job creation tax credits for its Appleton location, despite agency records showing no new jobs have been created there since 2011.

WEDC records show Eaton Corporation has received $658,929 in job creation tax credits for adding 15 jobs since 2011 at its Menomonee Falls location.

That is nearly double the $369,307 in job creation tax credits Eaton had received by June 2016, when WEDC credited the company for creating 23 jobs at that location.

WEDC now lists 8 fewer jobs created in Menomonee Falls, but has awarded an additional $289,622 to the company in the last 13 months.

The number of jobs Eaton has added - according to WEDC - is much smaller than the number the company has outsourced from Wisconsin to foreign countries.

The company laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee in April 2013, moving those jobs to Mexico.

In April 2015, Eaton Corp. announced it was permanently discontinuing the manufacture of printed circuit boards at its facility in Watertown and sending that work to Mexico as well, which resulted in the elimination of 93 employees there.

A WEDC spokesperson said the agency is checking questions about why Eaton and Plexus have not seen any awards revoked.

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