Wisconsin’s Return on Reform
Wisconsin is on a roll. Over the last eight years, the Badger State has gone from a place where businesses and people were fleeing to a place where businesses are growing and people are finding new opportunity.
This did not just happen on its own. This is thanks to the strong voice of employers and employees that make up the nearly 4,000 member companies of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). In 2010, WMC members stood together to say enough is enough, and they demanded reform.
“Eight years ago, the business community was tired of the status quo,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “WMC members came together because they knew Wisconsin could improve its business climate, reduce the tax burden on its citizens and ensure our state’s economic future was put first.”
WMC marched to the State Capitol and strongly advocated for greatly reduced taxes, an overhaul of the state’s regulatory system and an end to frivolous lawsuits that were all strangling the Wisconsin economy.
Leaders in Madison listened. They reformed Wisconsin’s tax code. They reformed state government. They reformed the legal system. Over the last eight years, Gov. Scott Walker and legislative Republicans have been national leaders on reform, and it worked.
Wisconsin is now cashing in on the benefits. The Return On Reform can be felt from Superior to Racine and Platteville to Green Bay.
“After eight years of pro-growth reforms, Wisconsin’s economy is back,” added Bauer. “More Wisconsinites are working than ever before and their paychecks are much bigger than eight years ago – not to mention they are keeping more of their hard-earned money thanks to billions of dollars in tax relief.”
The Return On Reform is real. Look at any economic indicator for the state, and it is obvious that Wisconsin is seeing a healthy Return On Reform.
“Now is not the time to switch courses,” concluded Bauer. “There is more to do to ensure Wisconsin’s economic future stays bright.”
Over the coming months, we will update this page with information about Wisconsin’s Return on Reform. Read more below:
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 2.9%, ranking it the 6th lowest in the country.
68 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties saw business growth over the last 3 years…while every single county in Illinois saw the number of businesses decline during the same period.
69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are at full employment – meaning their unemployment rate is below 4%!
Act 10 Saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion in the five years after it was signed into law!
Wisconsin’s state and local tax burden dropped from 10th highest in 2010 to 21st highest in 2015 – it is now less than the national average!
Wisconsin’s business taxes per employee are 11th lowest in the country!
In the last eight years, Wisconsin has cumulatively cut taxes by $8 billion!
In the last eight years, Wisconsin has cut property taxes by $3.6 billion!
In the last eight years, Wisconsinites have saved $1,380 per person thanks to $8 billion in tax relief!
In the last eight years, Wisconsinites have saved $3,478 per household thanks to $8 billion in tax relief!
Wisconsin’s property taxes are actually lower than they were eight years ago! While home values have increased, the property taxes on a median-valued home in 2018 are $131 lower than in 2010!
Wisconsin saw 10.3% Real GDP growth from 2010 to 2017 – ranking it 11th best in the nation! From 2001 to 2010, Wisconsin only saw 4.9% GDP growth, ranking it 35th nationwide.
Wisconsin has the 2nd highest percentage in the country of prime working age adults (25-54 years old) who are currently employed at 86%!
Wisconsin’s Manufacturing & Agriculture Tax Credit accounted for an increase of 42,000 jobs in manufacturing and other industries from 2013 to 2016!
Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate is 68.8% – much higher than the U.S. average – and is 5th highest in the country!
Wages are increasing in Wisconsin faster than 46 other states! Wages grew by 5.9% over last year, besting the U.S. wage growth rate of 2.7%! (Source: Fed Bank of St. Louis)
Since Dec. 2010, Wisconsin has added 48,000 manufacturing jobs! These jobs pay roughly $67,000 in salary and benefits – 44% higher than the state average!
Since Dec. 2010, Wisconsin has added 29,000 construction jobs!
Wisconsin’s public pension plan is 100% fully funded – far outpacing the national average of 65.9%. Illinois has a 36% funded pension plan.
Wisconsin has the highest rated health care quality in the country! Illinois ranks 32nd.
Wisconsin has the 9th lowest rate of uninsured individuals in the nation, and everyone living in poverty is covered!
Wisconsin has the 15th highest median income in the country when adjusting for cost of living!
Wisconsin has the 10th lowest rate of poverty in the country!
Wisconsin ranks 2nd in “Main Street” Entrepreneurship, which measures amount of small business owners, number of firms and their survival rate!
Wisconsin grew total private businesses by 11.4% from 2010 to 2017! Minnesota only grew 4.6% and Illinois’ total number of businesses dropped by 4.3%.
Since the 2012-13 school year, tuition at the University of Wisconsin has been frozen for in-state students! Before that, tuition at UW-Madison increased by 54.6% from the 2006-07 school year to 2012-13.
3 independent agencies have recognized Wisconsin’s improved fiscal condition and increased the state’s credit ratings! Moody’s ranks Wisconsin Aa1 – just one below its best ranking! Moody’s ranks Illinois as Baa3 – just one above junk status.
Wisconsin is the 11th happiest state in the country!
WMC will continue to update this page with more statistics about Wisconsin’s Return on Reform. Check back regularly.