African-American News, Business, Education, Politics, Technology and Social Commentary For Metro Milwaukee.
Give Governor Walker credit, he knows the democrats are weak, spineless, and non-confrontational (at best) so why not go for the kill. He’s already put the so-called Black elected pols in his back pocket by patting them on the head and allowing them to chase their tails, I mean do another study on Black Male joblessness. We are soooo lucky to have such savvy elected pols aren’t we? Back to the point, Walker is rolling out a major plan through WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority) known as “Transform Milwaukee. The plan includes a $100 million investment in the poorest areas of Milwaukee and expects to create 2,000 construction jobs (and many permanent ones). Can the democrats say CHECKMATE!
Here are some excerpts from an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
By John Schmidof the Journal Sentinel
Gov. Scott Walker Monday unveiled a $100 million two-year “Transform Milwaukee” plan aimed at focusing his administration’s top economic resources on one of the poorest sections of Milwaukee’s inner city.
The plan is meant to coordinate the resources of multiple state agencies with the city and other economic development entities.
It includes efforts to reoccupy foreclosed and vacant properties, provide loans and venture funding for small businesses and industrial development, and improve freight and intermodal transportation to foster the revitalization of industry.
Other elements include a survey of the inner city workforce to inventory worker skills and learn what existing skills can be leveraged, as well as a proposed new job training center.
Aides said the plan will center on economically ravaged areas of the north and south side of Milwaukee, but the predominant area will be the city’s 30th Street corridor. The corridor, which pulsated with heavy industry in the city’s manufacturing heyday in the last century, was devastated by deindustrialization, global competition and chronic high unemployment.
The area has stymied economic planners for years. The factories that once lined a north-side freight rail line are mostly vacant or torn down, leaving an employment vacuum and economic depression.
Walker’s blueprint for the inner city takes the Republican administration directly into a bastion of traditional Democratic support and the political jurisdiction of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is one of the Democratic candidates vying to oppose Walker in a recall election.
Walker’s point man on the project is Wyman Winston, executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, or WHEDA.
“We need to turn around Milwaukee’s inner city neighborhoods,” Winston said in outlining the plan last week in a meeting with the Journal Sentinel editorial board.
The plan has been a year in the making, he said. Winston said the program will span multiple departments within the Walker administration. But Winston said he will take responsibility for its execution and takes credit as the plan’s architect.
“This is bold and ambitious,” said Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson. He wants to build a new job training center in or near the corridor even though Milwaukee County already endures criticism for duplication and lack of coordination among its existing network of training centers.
To justify the need for a new training center, Newson singled out the Milwaukee Area Technical College for its inability to connect trainees with existing jobs. “I know of three employers who are frustrated by the Milwaukee Area Technical College,” Newson told the editorial board. “The private sector is so frustrated they will welcome this.”
Newson’s department will find funding for the training center and survey of jobs skills, but those will not come from the $100 million budget, which is almost entirely from WHEDA.
The initial $100 million theoretically could stimulate a matching sum in spending from the private sector or foundations, WHEDA estimates.
Here’s a breakout of the funding, as described by WHEDA officials:
$11 million: Loans in strategic neighborhoods to spur new home ownerships.
$25 million : Loans and federal tax credits to support multi-family housing, which in turn could catalyze a further private or foundation investment in key neighborhoods.
$56 million: Loans and aid for small business development.
$8 million: Earmarked to tear down and remediate blighted properties.