WI dumps two big IT projects within a month

Plug is pulled on Revenue Dept's sales tax tracking system, just weeks after unemployment insurance tracking system is canceled. Legislators want to know what's going on.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

Wisconsin has scrapped two major computer systems in the last month, most recently a $28 million sales-tax tracking system, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Laura Engan defended the move.

"We inherited a really not-great system from the prior administration. . . . We've managed this system we inherited in a good way," Engan said.

But legislators were dismayed.

"No private business would spend $26 million or $30 million for a project that doesn't work," said Rep. Sue Jeskewitz (R-Menomonee Falls), co-chairwoman of the audit committee.

"When will we see the end of these terribly, terribly wasteful projects?" said Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay), who pushed for the IT audit last year.

This follows the revelation that the state Department of Workforce Development was halting a $23 million system to track unemployment insurance claims. The plug was pulled when a $10 million component failed to work.

Last year, the University of Wisconsin System announced it was giving up on a payroll system that never worked after spending $26 million on it.

With a state audit of IT spending imminent, the state's chief information officer, Matt Miszewski, resigned last month. Officials denied a connection. The new CIO is Oskar Anderson.

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