Agency 101: Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Oct 19, 2022 | Administration

Click here for a printable version of our report or read the full version below.

State Agency Fast Facts: 

  • The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was created by 2011 Wisconsin Act 7 to replace the former Department of Commerce.
  • WEDC is a public private corporation that is governed by a 16-member board of directors.
  • The corporation is responsible for developing and implementing programs to provide business and community support, expertise and financial assistance, support new business start-ups and business expansion and growth; and develop and implement any other programming related to economic development in Wisconsin.
  • WEDC’s 2021-2023 budget is set at $83,101,400.

WEDC Taxpayer Alert

Did you know?

WEDC receives the bulk of its funding from the state and in recent years has drawn on federal COVID-19 funding. Since the start of the pandemic, WEDC has awarded $143,124,881 in COVID-19 relief funds.

Reform History:

In its short history, WEDC’s role in the lending market has been debated by lawmakers. In the nearly 12 years since its creation, the corporation has seen its lending ability curtailed and then expanded on a more limited basis.

2015 Act 55 prohibited new loans from being originated by WEDC after June 30, 2017 with a small exception for technology development. However, in the budget the following year, the legislature removed this prohibition and instead ended forgivable loans and put in place tighter lending guidelines.

Keep an Eye on…

There is beginning to be a paradigm shift in how the states are looking at economic development. When WEDC was first created, the goal was to attract large businesses that would bring jobs to Wisconsin. As of recently, states are now looking for ways to attract and retain a talented workforce to take the jobs that are available.

Close Call:

In the 2021-2023 budget, Governor Evers proposed spending $200 million in state tax dollars for pandemic recovery. This is on top of all of the federal funding that was already coming into the state. The legislature pulled this funding out of the budget.

WEDC Leadership

IRG Wants to Know:

If you were in charge for a day, what reforms would you make to WEDC? Email Alex Ignatowski, IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, at AI@reforminggovernment.org.