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Please begin with an informative title:

It finally happened.  

Too little and a whole lot too late, PolitiFact has finally called BS on Scott Walkers jobs claims.  Naturally, it comes more than 6 months after the Hune 5 recall election when such public knowledge would have been helpful, on a Monday when newspapers are little read due to a continuing decrease in daily subscribers, and won't be covered at all in what passes for "news" in Wisconsin, but it's happened.

Walker has made the vow in a variety of forums, including speeches, videos, and on his campaign and official websites. But the state’s progress in job creation was last in the nation in 2011 -- and there have been no signs of a significant turnaround in 2012.
(bolding is mine)

During a speech on December 12, Walker claimed (lied) he had created 100,000 private sector jobs in Wisconsin and claimed he would reach his "goal" of 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term as Governor.  And that's what led PolitiFact to look at his continually bogus jobs claims.

When we asked about the "just under 100,000 figure," Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the number was based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, considered the most reliable measure of employment. She said the data showed there were 86,490 jobs created from December 2010 (just before Walker took office) to June 2012 (the most recent quarter available).
These, of course, are the made-up numbers that Walker started promoting the month before the recall election just days before the Bureau of Labor Stastics was about to release their report showing yet another month of job losses in our state.  Our Wisconsin media, as obedient servants to all things GOP, immediately began to decry the official BLS jobs numbers in favor of Walkers own claims.  And he's been putting out those numbers ever since.

We no longer hear about the BLS (official) jobs numbers here.  We hear about the jobs numbers put out by a Walker crony.  And the numbers they have been putting out just haven't been believable.

PolitiFact did it's own measurements and found that:

the state created 25,411 private sector jobs under Walker’s watch
Naturally, the real employment numbers are much less considering the loss of large numbers of public sector jobs under Walker and his budget.  That aside, however, he's at 10% of his "promise" of 250,000 jobs and nearly halfway through his first term as Governor.

PolitiFacts conclusion:

... his statement is false. We think it’s ridiculous too -- after private admonitions -- publicly present it this way. Pants on Fire.
(bolding is mine)

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(This space for rent for any further developments or interesting stories.)


Already there's MORE for those following the story about how the Scott Walker created Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) lost track of millions of dollars in taxpayer funded business loans.

At 3 p.m., the audit committee of the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will discuss the results of an audit by outside firm Schenk of the agency's books. At 1 p.m., a Senate committee led by Democrats will look at how the agency and its board are run.

The WEDC has come under criticism for a series of missteps, most notably failing to comprehensively track past due, taxpayer-funded loans to businesses that are worth $12.2 million. As of Nov. 2, borrowers were late in making payments totaling $2.5 million, but the state could easily end up losing more than that.

(bolding is mine)

This may be the last chance to do anything about WEDC and the incompetence that will cost taxpayers plenty.  The State Senate is still under majority Democratic control until the start of the new Legislative Session in January when Republicans, thanks to gerrymandering, will retake control of both legislative bodies again.


The report is now in.

Missing safeguards, staff turnover and shoddy bookkeeping within the state's flagship jobs agency led to delinquent loans going uncollected, financial deals being misstated or unrecorded, and credit card and other transactions getting no checks for fraud or errors, outside auditors have found.
In other words, typical Walker crony incompetence (see under Walker, Scott, Milwaukee County Executive, incompetence).  
The Schenck audit, which recommended top to bottom improvements to ensure that the WEDC better tracks what it does with the public's money, is the first of two such reviews being conducted of the WEDC. The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau is expected to release its own review in the spring.
Or we can go back to the original use of the Department of Commerce, which Walker disbanded to form this "private partnership".  
As a result, "financial transactions were either not recorded or improperly recorded throughout the year and went undetected by personnel of the corporation," the report notes.

Gov. Scott Walker is the chairman of the WEDC board. Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens Co., is vice chairman, and Scott Klug, managing director of public affairs at the law firm of Foley and Lardner, is the board treasurer.

Imagine your bank not recording financial transactions and nobody following up.  That's what happened here with taxpayer money being funnelled to business without records or follow up.

Other problems were found, as well as poor record keeping:

25% of all credit card transaction during the agency's first year were not approved at the time of the audit, a necessary step to ensuring that the cards are being used correctly. The report says, "Without enforcement of a review policy, credit card charges could be used for unallowable or unauthorized expenses and not be discovered."

Many of the entries in WEDC's accounting journals did not contain enough supporting documents or evidence of a double-check review and approval by someone other than the person recording the entry in the first place. "Accounting journal entries which are unsupported and unapproved (by other staff) can lead to intentional improper recording, misstated general ledger balances and potentially conceal fraud," the report says.

WEDC's tracking of tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer loans to businesses lacked "basic internal accounting controls" in which loan balances would be tracked in individual accounts and also entered on the WEDC's general books. As a result, it took "extensive effort" to do the year-end statements and "adequate follow-up on delinquent loans did not always occur."



Even MORE More:

Palermos Strike Update:

Yes, the Palermos Pizza strike continues.

Striking Palermo's workers and their supporters held a holiday-themed protest Monday outside the frozen pizza manufacturing plant chanting "Deck the halls with living wages" and trying to portray Palermo's president and CEO Giacomo Fallucca as the Grinch.

They also tried to deliver Christmas cards made by the striking workers' children to Fallucca, but police stopped them from stepping onto the property.

Inside the pizza-making plant, Chris Dresselhuys, the director of marketing, called the protest "an exploitation of the season, unfortunate and in bad taste."

Please join me in laughing at the Palermos response.  "Exploitation of the season"?  Seriously?  Really?  What Palermos and far too many businesses believe in exploiting is workers.
"If they believe we are going away, we are here and we will continue to fight," said Maria Somma, an organizer with the United Steel Workers, which is aiding in the union effort on the national boycott of Palermo's pizza. "Palermo's is trying to convince the media that the fight is over, but it's just beginning."
Despite the fact that the employees still don't have a union and serious union-busting tactics continue to be used by the company, the 6 month old strike has had some positive impacts for workers:
Former worker Raul de la Torre told protesters that since the strike began workers inside the plant have received a $1 an hour raise and now work five, instead of six or seven days a week. De la Torre credited the strike with improving working conditions at the plant.


Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Puddytat on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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