MADISON – For the first time ever, Wisconsin has made it into the top 10 of Chief Executive Magazine’s list of the “Best States for Business.” According to Chief Executive, Wisconsin’s rise “has been the steadiest ascension in the rankings over the past five years—and one of the most deliberate.”
This is not by accident. Since 2011, Wisconsin has made sweeping – and positive – changes at the state level. By pursing an agenda promoted by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), Gov. Scott Walker has reduced taxes on both individuals and businesses, cut through countless layers of red tape and made Wisconsin’s job creators a priority.
From Chief Executive:
Since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2010, he has pushed and deployed a laundry list of business-friendly policies in large part to persuade CEOs that Wisconsin would be a great place to site or expand their facilities and companies.
At the same time, the biggest boon to the state might not be of Walker’s creation: the accident of its location across borders from two of the Midwest’s most important population centers, Chicago and the Twin Cities.
In any event, Wisconsin has climbed the list to No. 10 this year from No. 41 in 2010, to No. 24 in 2011, to No. 20 in 2012, to No. 17 in 2013, to No. 14 in 2014, to No. 12 in 2015, and to No. 11 last year. And after the addition of thousands of jobs over that span, Wisconsin’s rate of workforce participation is nearly 69 percent, putting it in America’s top 10 states—and at an all-time high for the Badger State.
Wisconsin’s climb into the top 10, according to the magazine, is thanks to some of Gov. Walker’s most high-profile policy changes, most of which were high-priorities for WMC and its members. From Gov. Walker’s public sector collective bargaining reforms and his approval of right-to-work to the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit and elimination of burdensome regulations, Wisconsin has quickly become a much friendlier place to do business.
It hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing. Walker opened his first term by waging a titanic battle against public-employee unions and their progressive allies to help close the state’s $3-billion budget gap by cutting pension costs an affront that brought massive Sixties-style sit-ins at the capitol building in Madison and fomented a recall election in 2012 that Walker survived handily. He was re-elected in 2014 and ran briefly for president in 2015.
Backed by most of the Wisconsin electorate to keep going, Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature instituted $2 billion in tax relief, including tax credits that virtually eliminated the tax burden on manufacturers and agricultural producers. The state eliminated taxes on property-tax bills.
Wisconsinites should be proud of our stature as a top state to do business. But the fight is not over yet. WMC continues to advocate on behalf of its members to make Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation for businesses.
To find out how you can become a member of WMC and join the fight to move Wisconsin forward, call our membership team at 608-258-3400.