Wisconsin’s economic recovery is continuing, no thanks to Scott Walker, and follows the national trend of improvements. Another words, Walker could have sat on his hands for five years and we’d be right where we are right now.
I can’t emphasize that enough either. I’m glad things are improving, but Walker’s big purely ideological agenda has laid a giant egg.
Since we’re dramatically behind the other Midwest states, we have nowhere to go but up. First the good news:
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX): Wisconsin’s current unemployment rate (6.9%) is shrinking faster than the nation’s (8.1%). The state’s median household income extended its lead over the U.S. from 2.2% to 4.0%, according to latest available figures (2011)(still behind despite increase). And, spending on research and development grew faster here (41%) than nationally (21%) during 2005-10.
R&D could disappear just like that if Republicans pass a conscience clause coupled with a ban on using fetal tissue. And, we’re still behind in wages:
Although the average wage here grew 11.3% (to $47,248) during 2006-11, compared to 10.2% for the U.S., it remained 12% below the national norm. And, as it has for decades, per capita income in the Badger State continued to lag the U.S. by 5.1%.
Despite falling joblessness, the report card shows mixed results on the jobs front. In 2012, Wisconsin employment grew 0.9%, compared to 1.7% nationally and at least 1.2% in the four surrounding states. That said, Wisconsin outperformed in manufacturing; job numbers climbed 2.2% here vs. 1.6% elsewhere.
And because Republicans took a pledge never to raise taxes, they’ve been unable to find ways to fund transportation projects without borrowing more and more. Walker is letting the state go to hell:
The new report card also focuses on important building blocks for future economic success:1. Good roads and highways are critical for getting materials to producers and products to market. In a new development, Wisconsin’s overall road quality appears to be slipping. Only 40.6% of state highway miles in 2011 were rated in one of the top two smoothness categories. That was down from 57.7% in 2009, and below the national average of 56.0%
2. Often, young companies with high potential turn to venture capital firms for funds necessary to sustain growth. In 2012, Wisconsin companies received an average of $34.23 per worker in venture capital, an increase of 6.5% over the past five years. However, the state remains below the national average ($200.94 per worker) and below all neighboring states, except Iowa.