Wisconsin Voters Have Optimistic View of 2018 Economy


Voters Oppose Business Property Tax Hikes, are Ready for Worker’s Comp Reform

MADISON – Wisconsinites are more optimistic about the economy than they were last year according to a recent scientific poll commissioned by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC). Those surveyed also support lower taxes and reforming the state’s worker’s compensation system, but voters are still deadlocked on increasing the gas tax.

“Wisconsin is on a roll and voters know it,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “With near record-low unemployment and one of the highest labor force participation rates in the country, it is no surprise that Wisconsinites are optimistic about the state of our economy.”

The poll of 500 Wisconsin voters was taken December 5-7 and was conducted by the Washington, DC-based Tarrance Group. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent.

According to the poll, 39 percent of voters believe the state’s economy will improve, which is up from 35 percent last year and 22 percent in 2015. Forty-three percent think the Wisconsin economy will stay the same, up slightly from 42 percent last year.

The poll also asked about important policies that are being considered by the legislature.

The first focused on business property taxes, which would be greatly impacted by so-called “dark store” legislation. If passed, businesses of all sizes and from all sectors would see their property taxes increase.

When asked, “if the state legislature was going to consider increasing property taxes on businesses, would you favor or oppose this proposal?” only 24 percent of Wisconsin voters support raising property taxes on businesses, while 64 percent oppose. Additionally, a majority of Republican voters (81%), Democratic voters (54%) and Independent voters (58%) oppose raising property taxes on businesses.

A large plurality (49%) of voters also support reforming Wisconsin’s worker’s compensation system, while only 27 percent oppose reform.

“It is a no-brainer to pass significant reforms to our worker’s compensation system,” Bauer added. “Forty-four other states have a medical fee schedule that brings down costs for businesses, and voters agree that this reform is necessary.”

Other Key Findings:

  • When asked if they would support a five-cent gas tax increase, 48 percent said they support it and 48 percent oppose. A majority of Republican voters (58%) oppose a gas tax increase and a majority of Democratic voters (61%) support it. Last year, 49 percent of Wisconsin voters supported a gas tax increase and 48 percent opposed it.
  • When asked if the legislature were to cut taxes, which should be the focus, 42 percent said income taxes, 33 percent said property taxes and 12 percent said sales taxes.
  • A large majority of voters (66%) said they favor cutting personal income taxes, while only 28 percent oppose.
  • When asked about the cost of their family’s health insurance in the last year, 53 percent said it went up, 42 percent said it stayed the same and only four percent said it went down.
  • Four out of five (79%) Wisconsin voters support giving parents the choice of which school their child attends.
  • Eighty-six percent of voters polled support giving schools financial incentives to provide internships, apprenticeships or job shadowing with local businesses as a part of their coursework.
  • A majority of voters (58%) think high school students should be able to take more science or math classes in place of language and social studies classes if they intend to pursue a career in science or technology.
  • Fifty-five percent of voters think public schools in Wisconsin are doing a good job of preparing students to be successful after graduation, while 37 percent said they are not.
  • When asked who should pay back student loan debt, 79 percent of respondents said students who borrowed it and 11 percent said taxpayers.
  • One in five Wisconsin voters (20%) think socialism is better for their family, while 62 percent surveyed preferred capitalism.
  • On energy, 34 percent of voters support policies to reduce global warming even if they would result in thousands of middle class job losses, while 54 percent oppose the policies.
  • Three in five voters (62%) would not support paying $25 more a month to pay for global warming regulations, and 34 percent would.
  • When asked about the job Donald Trump is doing as President, 38 percent of voters approve and 57 percent of voters disapprove.
  • Forty-six percent of voters approve of the job Tammy Baldwin is doing as U.S. Senator, and 42 percent disapprove.
  • When asked about the job Scott Walker is doing as Governor, 48 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove.

To see the full poll memo, click here.


For more information, contact:
Nick Novak, 608.258.3400