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.
Almost a year ago, on April 2, 2007, I blogged that the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported during 2006, the rate of growth in Wisconsin income ranked near the bottom compared to all other states. Wisconsin’s per-capita personal income grew 4.3 percent. The national average of per-capita personal income growth was higher at 5.2 percent. Our income growth ranking put us in the bottom 10 states.
I also blogged about a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance study that found from 1999 to 2005, Wisconsin’s median household income fell 2.2 percent from $45,667 to $44,650, while the national median rose 13.8 percent from $40,696 to $46,326. Wisconsin ranked 50th in the nation in household income growth during the period. Meanwhile, spending by state and local governments in Wisconsin takes over 20 per cent of your personal income.
You can read my entire blog from a year ago here.
It’s disturbing that the downward spiral of Wisconsin income continues.
Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. (CWI), a nonpartisan group of state agriculture, business, education and labor leaders has released its tenth annual Benchmarks Survey, rating Wisconsin in 33 areas of interstate competitiveness. Seventeen benchmarks changed this year, with eight improvements, and nine declines on some key areas, signaling reason to be concerned about Wisconsin’s ability to compete nationally.
Three benchmarks stand out:
1) PER CAPITA INCOME: Wisconsin’s per capita income, $34,476, is below the national average of $36,629. As CWI reports, “Personal per capita income is often cited as a measure of a state’s relative economic health. Wisconsin’s per capita income also continues to significantly trail that of its neighbors, Illinois ($38,297) and Minnesota ($38,751).”
2) JOB GROWTH: CWI reports, “In 2006, the number of Wisconsin jobs increased 0.7%, a drop from 1.1% in 2004 and 1.2% in 2005. Wisconsin trails the national average of 1.8%.”
3) CREATION OF NEW PRIVATE BUSINESSES: Wisconsin lags behind the nation in this category as well. CWI reports, “The number of new private businesses in Wisconsin dropped 0.4% in 2006, while the number of businesses grew nationally 2.5%. Even more troubling is that all of Wisconsin’s neighbors had increases in 2006.”
The CWI study is the latest in a series of gloomy eye-opening reports clearly demonstrating Wisconsin’s fragile economy is headed in the wrong direction.
Incomes are down. Job opportunities are down. The number of new businesses opening that offer job opportunities is down.
Because hard-working families have less income, their ability to keep financing government’s whimsical spending habits is more difficult. Since families have less, it is imperative government refrain from taxing them more.
Wisconsin is struggling to resolve a $652 million revenue shortfall. The wrong solution is to raise taxes. Wisconsin taxpayers have given so much for so long that they cannot give anymore.
When families have trouble making ends meet, the last thing they do is pull out the Visa card. State government should adopt the same common-sense policy. How many more abysmal reports do we have to read before we realize the time to stop taxing and spending arrived a long time ago?
Here is the CWI report and a CWI press release.