In recent years, BizTimes has published news stories of dozens of Illinois businesses that have moved across the border into Wisconsin.
Most of those companies have moved into Kenosha County. By any measure, the Badger State appears to be taking Illinoisâ€™ lunch money.
However, the relationship between Wisconsin and its western neighbor, Minnesota, appears to be a vastly different story. By virtually every measure, Minnesota is taking Wisconsinâ€™s lunch money, according to a recent study by the LaCrosse Tribune, which lies right at the border.
First, a review. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (a Republican) and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (a Democrat) were both elected to office in 2010. They both inherited large state budget deficits.
Walker, who was facing a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and a $3.6 billion deficit, and the Republican Legislature passed massive spending cuts to public education and enacted the controversial Act 10 to require most public employees to pay more for their health care and pensions. Some tax credits for lower income residents were reduced. Business tax incentives were added, and taxes were cut nearly $2 billion through a combination of income and property tax reductions.
Dayton tackled a $5 billion deficit. Minnesota balanced its budget in part by borrowing against its commitment to education aid. After the 2012 elections, when Democrats took control of the Minnesota Legislature, taxes were raised on the wealthiest Minnesotans, and tobacco taxes were increased.
Walkerâ€™s tax plan reduced the highest rate for the wealthiest Wisconsinites from 7.75 to 7.65 percent and brought slight relief to all income levels. Daytonâ€™s plan created a higher rate of 9.850 percent for the top 2 percent of Minnesotaâ€™s wealthiest. Daytonâ€™s plan increased tax credits for renters â€“ the opposite of Wisconsin, where those tax credits were cut. Dayton also signed a $508 million tax cut in 2014, of which $232 million was aimed at the middle class and $232 million was earmarked for the elimination of some business taxes.
Minnesota increased its minimum wage to $9.50 per hour and has it indexed to increase with inflation. Walker opposes raising Wisconsinâ€™s minimum wage.
Minnesota accepted federal Medicaid money and created its own health care marketplace, reducing its number of uninsured residents. Wisconsin rejected federal money, instead tweaking coverage to put some 80,000 people into a federal exchange. That cost the state an estimated $206 million over the past two years and an estimated $460 million through 2020.
The results? Wisconsin ranks 32nd in the nation in job growth. Minnesota ranks 26th.
Minnesotaâ€™s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 3.7 percent. Wisconsinâ€™s unemployment rate stands at 5.0 percent. The median household income in Minnesota is about $60,000. Wisconsinâ€™s is just below $52,000.
While Wisconsin faces an estimated $2 billion state deficit and plans to slash the University of Wisconsin Systemâ€™s annual budget by more than $300 million, Minnesota has a $1.2 billion state surplus.
The stark differences between the states continue. The Wisconsin Legislature recently sailed through a right-to-work law that will ban labor unions from compelling members to pay union dues. Members of the Wisconsin Contractors Coalition, a group of more than 350 companies, testified against the law.
Minnesota's Job Growth and Energy Affordability Committee Chairman Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) wasted little time and extended invitations to Wisconsin businesses offering assistance to relocate their headquarters to Minnesota.â€¨â€¨
Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) responded, "My colleagues and I will continue to do what is best for Wisconsin. We have full confidence that our record of lower taxes, less regulation, and an attractive business climate stands strong against Minnesotaâ€™s choice to tax and spend."
Steve Jagler is editor of BizTimes.
"Could it be in part that Minnesota boasts 18 fortune 500 companies compared to Milwaukee 10."
Wisconsin has 10, the Milwaukee area has 7. Most jobs are not created at large businesses though, why is MN adding more jobs & faster than WI?
"Minnesota has been a richer state than Wisconsin before Walker was around."
'economic performance in Wisconsin and Minnesota have diverged since 2011'
WI income falling behind the country, while MN pulls ahead.
"Minnesota also boast a lot of medical hip and replacement companies that will be heavily taxed by Obamacare. Also from the website Governing States and localities, Governor Walker spends $12000 dollars per student in Wisconsin versus a $11,000 for Dayton in Minnesota. So when it comes to education who really cares about the kids. Walker and he Republicans"
So, now higher spending is a mark of success? More is better, right? MN is spending less & still having better results, I'm going to go out on a limb here & say we should copy what they're doing right & not keep doing what we've been doing. If we keep on cutting taxes on the wealthy, keep cutting the UW budget, blocking Obamacare in WI (which would save us hundreds of millions of $), if we keep doing this, we'll see our income keep dropping.
Could it be in part that Minnesota boasts 18 fortune 500 companies compared to Milwaukee 10. Minnesota has been a richer state than Wisconsin before Walker was around. Minnesota also boast a lot of medical hip and replacement companies that will be heavily taxed by Obamacare. Also from the website Governing States and localities, Governor Walker spends $12000 dollars per student in Wisconsin versus a $11,000 for Dayton in Minnesota. So when it comes to education who really cares about the kids. Walker and he Republicans
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
"Hard work. Dedication. And the mindset that failure is not an option." That is how former Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis answered a question about the secrets behind his post-football career as a successful executive in the beer distributing and radio businesses.
Several jaws dropped and eyebrows rose in January when BizTimes predicted a robust year of national economic growth for 2015. Well, we're at the quarter pole, and so far, so good.
Under new ownership, the Milwaukee Bucks made significant strides by building a young pool of talent on the court this season. However, the organization also has quickly assembled an impressive pool of young talent off the court in the front office.
In his Feb. 23 column for the BizTimes, Steve Jagler observed that each time a project is proposed to propel the city forward, someone or something seems to pop up and attempts to stop it. Judging from the feedback Steve Jagler received in response to his piece, many readers feel the same way.
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.