Wisconsin Rising: Climbs In Business Rankings
More good news for Wisconsin as a result of the Walker/Kleefisch reforms:
Wisconsin leapt to 20th place in our Best States/Worst States list this year from 24th last year, one of only eight states that enjoyed a rise of at least four spots. That followed a phenomenal 17-place leap in last year’s list, where it occupied the doldrums of 41st place. Wisconsin also fared well by other gauges last year, especially in how it treated entrepreneurs. The state ranked 4th last year in tax costs on new firms, as calculated by the Tax Foundation, and a Kauffman Center Index of Entrepreneurial Activity showed Wisconsin with the 7th largest rise last year among the handful of states that did better at all.
The reasons are as simple as they are bold. As soon as he took office in January 2011, Walker, a Republican governor elected on a fiscal-responsibility platform, moved aggressively to close the state’s $3.6-billion budget deficit without raising taxes. His centerpiece was slashing costs by restricting collective-bargaining rights and organizing powers of Wisconsin’s powerful government-employee unions.
Despite wild labor protests that drew gobs of national media attention and catalyzed Big Labor across America, Walker squeaked the measures through the newly Republican-heavy state legislature.
“Things definitely are moving and improving in the right direction, ” said John Shannon, CEO of Quick Cable Corp., a 140-person company in Franksville, Wisconsin that supplies the power-storage industry. “More taxes take money out of our businesses that we can use to develop new products and markets and jobs.”
Wisconsin executives say the new public-private economic-development commission created by Walker is much nimbler and more responsive than the previous government bureaucracy. Furthermore, entrepreneurs have been favored by, among other things, streamlining of a Qualified New Business Tax Credit for angel investments in start-ups.
The reforms are working and are inspiring confidence. Wisconsin isn't out of the woods yet, however: the June 5th recall is but weeks away. I've heard from a number of business owners in Wisconsin who are nervous that these reforms may be halted or revoked altogether due to Big Labor's thirst for control. As a result, they are hesitant with hiring.
It's important to note that these reforms are working--and school districts are lining up to take advantage of them (even if they were initially opposed).
Can you imagine this same scenario playing out state-by-state throughout the country? Can you image the jobs created? The drastic descent of our unemployment percentage?
If they stop it in Wisconsin, they'll stop it at the federal level, too.