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Economic Development Group Praises Walker's Plan to Kill Commerce Dept.


MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - One of Wisconsin’s largest economic development groups praises Governor-elect Scott Walker’s effort to create an agency that will focus on creating jobs.

The Republican Walker unveiled his plans Tuesday to eliminate the state Commerce Department by July, and replace it with a public and private corporation.

Brian Doudna, who heads the Wisconsin Economic Development Association, says Walker’s idea is badly needed. He said the state needs, “dynamic growth that will raise per-capita incomes, create jobs that will retain college graduates, and make Wisconsin and our businesses more competitive in the global economy.”

But the Senate’s incoming Democratic leader, Mark Miller of Monona, said Walker’s new agency might tell the public less about the tax breaks that businesses get. But Walker promises to release as much information as the state does now. And he said the new agency would make ethics, openness, and accountability among its top priorities.

Also, Miller questioned Walker’s plan to farm out some of the Commerce Department’s current duties to the Department of Regulation and Licensing. Miller said the inspection of amusement rides and elevators does not fit in an agency that licenses everyone from doctors to hair stylists.

Lawmakers will be asked to consider Walker’s changes in a special session in the next month.