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Wisconsin TV ads aimed at luring Minnesota businesses start Monday

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A Wisconsin job-creation agency will start running television ads Monday that are aimed at getting expanding businesses to move to the Badger State from Minnesota and Illinois.

The Associated Press reports the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is spending more than half-a-million dollars on the eight-week campaign involving TV stations in the Twin Cities, Chicago, and Rockford. The two ads will also appear on about 400 websites in addition to running during news shows on CNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

The corporation's CEO, Reed Hall, says in a statement "If a company in Illinois, Minnesota or any other state is considering expanding or relocating, we want to make sure that Wisconsin is among the options being considered," the AP reports.

The ads do not make specific mention of Minnesota or Illinois. A WEDC deputy secretary tells the Wisconsin State Journal: “We can positively advertise Wisconsin without having to tear down anyone else.”

The corporation was started by Gov. Scott Walker in 2011. But it was troubled by missteps almost immediately, the State Journal reports, failing to adequately track loans and extending tax breaks to ineligible applicants. Meanwhile, Wisconsin ranks 37th among the states in job creation and economic growth in Minnesota has significantly outpaced its neighbor.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports WEDC has more than doubled its marketing budget this year to $5.75 million. The newspaper says the corporation will meet with state finance officials on Wednesday to provide a progress report and ask for additional funding for 2015.

The Associated Press story notes that Wisconsin's bid to lure businesses has ruffled the feathers of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in the past. Here in Minnesota, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Dayton told the AP the ads are a stunt, adding: "Given how bad (Wisconsin's economic growth and job creation) results have been," he said, "it is unsurprising they are trying this kind of Hail Mary pass."

Learn more about the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation at their website.

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