A new Wisconsin public-private economic development agency created by Republican Gov. Scott Walker spent almost $60,000 on iPads and 3G Service for them despite repeated claims by the governor that the state is "broke," reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
In his successful push to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees and forcing state employees to pay more for their health care and pensions, Gov. Walker repeatedly called his state "broke." "We're broke. We don't have any more money," he said in a news conference on February 21. In a speech on March 1, he said, "The facts are clear: Wisconsin is broke and it's time to start paying our bills today so our kids are not stuck with even bigger bills tomorrow." PolitiFact ruled his description of the state's finances as "broke" as "false."
The Republican-controlled legislature passed a law creating the public-private entity in February that Gov. Walker signed. The board consists of 13 members -- the governor, six Walker appointees and six chosen by the state Assembly and the Senate leaderships. Some Walker appointees donated to his campaign. Walker sees the agency as part of his plan to create 250,000 new jobs in the state.
A spokesman for the new entity said to the Journal-Sentinel that the iPads were cheaper than laptop computers and the department needed to upgrade its technology.
Walker said in December that he wanted the agency to have high standards for ethics. "We want to make sure that both from an ethics and open government standpoint and overall in terms of accountability that we have full disclosure and accountability."