Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Wisconsin Boom

State economy soars after collective bargaining fight

Wisconsin has pulled back from the brink of fiscal insolvency after Governor Scott Walker’s collective bargaining and budget reforms, despite doomsday warnings of fiscal disaster.

Neighboring Illinois, whose Democratic governor opted for tax hikes, has not fared as well.

Wisconsin voters appear happy with Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s economic resurgence. Gov. Walker got 626,538 votes in his May 8 uncontested recall primary, more than the two main Democratic candidates combined.

That total is also more than all the GOP candidates combined in the contested 2010 GOP primary, as well as the highest voter turnout for a gubernatorial primary in 60 years.

Unemployment has dropped from 7.7 percent to 6.8 percent since Walker took office. Unemployment in neighboring Illinois, however, only dropped below 9 percent in March—the first time it has done so in two years.

Wisconsin property taxes have fallen for the first time in 12 years. The state’s adult debt per capita is roughly $687. Illinois’ is about $853.

The two states took divergent paths in 2010 in dealing with looming fiscal insolvency. While Walker pushed spending cuts and public sector reforms, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and the state legislature floated $7 billion in new taxes, including a 67 percent individual income tax increase and a 46 percent corporate tax increase.

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