State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that throughout America, states are now going after former residents, attempting to lure them back to rejuvenate dwindling workforces. For example, South Dakota, aware of its harsh winters and open spaces, has instituted, “Dakota Roots,” a service that matches up former South Dakotans with businesses that need workers.
North Dakota unveiled a similar program last fall, and did so by announcing it an event in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Admittedly, these programs attract a limited number of people, but the states that utilize them claim they’re worth the investment. The feeling is that it is far easier to lure people that have already lived in a state than to attract strangers. Iowa has been able to recruit 2,200 workers to return.
The concept is new. Most states wish to lure new people to move in, with development efforts geared to offering companies tax breaks and incentives like less expensive real estate. Companies say their biggest concern about moving to a state is securing a well-trained workforce.
How do the programs get former residents to move back?
College alumni lists are used, along with Internet sites to track down graduates. Helping the cause is the fact ex-residents show a pattern of moving to other states that aren’t very far away. Great Plains residents tend to settle in Minneapolis.
The Wall Street Journal reports the cost of the programs is low especially when compared to the millions in tax breaks given to attract businesses. Intended for ex-residents, the programs are open to anyone looking for a job in the state. The states that do offer these programs share common characteristics of cold weather and a shortage of workers.