Dale Kupczyk, executive director of the Ashland Area Development Corporation, has a system for dealing with applications from Gov. Scott Walker’s job-creation agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.: “We have to throw them in the trash.”
Kupczyk says WEDC assistance is not of much value to his community. One problem is that companies courting state incentives often require access to a four-lane highway. But Highway 2, which runs through Ashland County, has only two lanes.
He and other critics also say the agency’s tax credit programs “don’t work” because companies in his region are so small that the application process is not worth the effort.
Officials in other northern Wisconsin counties, saddled with high unemployment rates and poverty levels, have similar tales of being ineligible for economic development programs offered by WEDC, a public-private agency created in 2011 by Republican Walker.