Milwaukee County Job Loss Under Walker’s Leadership

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Before criticizing Doyle for statewide job losses during a recession, Walker should pay attention to what’s going on in his own backyard.

In 2009 Milwaukee County lost over 30,000 jobs — with the unemployment rate jumping from 5.5% to 9.2% in just one year. (bls.gov)

And just what sort of “economic development” has Walker been up to as county executive? It’s a legacy of mismanagement and shuffled responsibilities. And even budget deficits: “Milwaukee County economic develpment division has $3M deficit,” Daily Reporter, 3/30/2007.

 

When Walker was elected exec he had two divisions under his supervision that managed economic development programs in the county — the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Economic & Community Development division (a merger of Economic Development and Housing & Community Development), and directly in the Executive Office was the Office of Community Business Development Partners (initially called Disadvantaged Business Development).

In his 2006 budget Walker moved the Office of Community Business Development Partners out of his office to the County Board after several years of reducing funding (in 2002 the program was funded at $680,454 and by 2005 Walker recommended funding of just $494,688).

After four years of recommending flat funding, Walker reduced funding for the DAS Economic & Community Dvlp department by $3 million (2007 budget), and then followed that up in his 2008 budget by stripping the program down to just real estate management and federal block grant distribution.

In his 2009 budget, introduced right in the midst of the 2008 financial collapse, the division was completely eliminated.

Walker reduced what had been $18-19 million each year in county spending on economic development (2002-2006), to just over $1 million in his proposed 2010 budget.

And so his grand 2010 effort to save face in light of the county’s weak record on economic development: Milwaukee Works! A weak marketing ploy that probably had more to do with his gubernatorial campaign than with actually creating jobs in Milwaukee County.

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