Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Walker's Wisconsin Slips to No. 22 for Top States for Business. Blame Utility Rates and Higher Wages?

I keep saying I’ll compare Gov. Jim Doyle’s 2010 jobs numbers with all of those superfluous media rankings we hear so much about, based on business groups and CEO rankings. I will get to it someday. I’m supposing we did lousy for "business outlook" but good for job creation, but we’ll see.
In the meantime, Cap Times’ Mike Ivey wrote an article that came close a full reveal, with analysis that pretty much said the said thing, but without those specific numerical comparisons between Doyle and Walker I was talking about.
When CNBC came out with its “Top States for Business” rankings last year, it got loads of press coverage in Wisconsin. The reason? Wisconsin broke into the Top 20 for the first time ever, jumping eights slots to No. 17.

But the new 2013 CNBC ranking which came out last week showing Wisconsin falling back to No. 22 was scarcely mentioned in state media. Of course, most observers take these rankings with a large grain of salt. The scorecards exist mainly to generate some free publicity for the group releasing the report.

For example, CEO Magazine has moved Wisconsin from 43rd to 17th over the past two years — a ranking widely touted by Walker. That survey is not based on any actual data — solely on written responses from corporate executives based on their own perceptions, i.e., how much state income tax will I have to pay.

Conservative Forbes magazine has its own business scorecard often cited by the media and elected officials. Walker never mentions that survey, however, since it shows Wisconsin at No. 42.
Here's WKOW's coverage:

It’s interesting to note that the better labor does when it comes to high wages, the worse the state does in rankings. That's never good:
It’s worth noting that nine of the Top 10 states in CNBC’s best for business rankings are so-called “right to work” states, again reflecting a bias in the cost of doing business since union jobs tend to pay more than non-union jobs. Wisconsin went from 13th to 28th on the cost of doing business measure in the new CNBC rankings … insiders say this likely reflects rising electric utility rates in Wisconsin coupled with an uptick in wages. Wisconsin was 17th in the nation in wage growth for 2012 … Higher wages are good for workers but not so good for business owners.

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