PEWAUKEE - After Eaton Corporation announced Monday
that it would lay off approximately 83 workers at its Pewaukee
facility, state legislators publicly questioned the Wisconsin
Economic Development Corporation previously giving the company tax
In a letter to WEDC Secretary Reed Hall on Tuesday,
Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point,
said they were disappointed to learn the 83 jobs eliminated from
Pewaukee would reportedly be going to Mexico.
“This brings to 339 the total of jobs Eaton has
outsourced since it received an award of nearly $370,000 in tax
credits from WEDC in 2011 and 2012,” reads the letter.
A company representative for Eaton did not return a
call Wednesday seeking comment regarding Barca’s and Lassa’s letter.
The WEDC issued a statement saying that “Through
Eaton’s most recent performance report it has created 25 new jobs in
Menomonee Falls, invested over $28,000,000, and retained all its
employees at that facility. As a result, the company has received
$369,307 in tax credits for job creation and employee training.”
In November 2011, WEDC authorized Eaton Corp. to
receive up to $1 million in jobs tax credits for its Menomonee Falls
facility. To receive the full credits, the company would have had to
create 24 new jobs, retain 151 existing positions and invest $10
“In 2014, WEDC’s Board unanimously implemented
stronger reporting requirements that require companies to certify to
WEDC that no WEDC funds were utilized to outsource jobs from
Wisconsin. Eaton Corp. has complied with the updated performance
reporting requirements and has certified on their most recent report
that the award to the Menomonee Falls facility was not used to
outsource jobs,” according to the statement from WEDC.
Barca and Lassa are requesting that the WEDC Board
discusses efforts to recover funds from Eaton during its Sept. 24
State Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, said he is
concerned for the families of the employees who are losing their
jobs at Eaton Corporation, but believes that with the current job
market those workers should be able to find new jobs.
Kapenga said he couldn’t address the situation with
Eaton receiving state credits directly because he didn’t know which
program the company received them under, but he does believe WEDC
must be given an overall review.
“No one bats 100 percent when you are in this type of
realm,” Kapenga said, adding it still hurts when situations like
Kapenga said he agreed with a comment Waukesha County
Executive Paul Farrow made Monday that it’s important to learn why
Eaton is outsourcing the jobs versus keeping them here and how the
business environment could be improved.
He also believes it might be best for the WEDC to
focus more on improving the available workforce than offering
incentives and tax credits to businesses.