Wisconsin had one of the five worst migration patterns in the United States from 2000 to 2006. Higher income individuals left Wisconsin. Individuals on the lowest rung of the economic ladder migrated to Wisconsin.
The Princeton report concludes simply, "Wisconsin is more attractive to low income individuals than high wage earners."
That migration impacts the financial, the social and the human capital
of Wisconsin. But what is the impact on tax revenues? What is the cost to the
taxpayers for services to the new residents?
These are questions that deserve immediate study. In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, UW researchers, the legislative council and the independent think tanks should be addressing these questions.
What might explain these migration trends? The brain drain of college graduates is well known. Also well studied is the loss of wealthy retirees to lower tax environments. And Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature have taken action to retain higher income groups by repealing the estate tax and by eliminating the jobs penalty in the formula for corporate taxation. But both trends still should concern state policymakers.
The surprise in the Princeton report was the attraction of low income individuals to Wisconsin -- perhaps a new welfare migration.
The New York Times first chronicled the welfare migration from Chicago
to Madison in 1995. Wasn't Wisconsin's pioneering welfare reform intended to
stop that trend?
A report presented at a 2008 Federal Reserve Conference on
the Midwest economy sheds some light on the issue.
According to that presentation, Wisconsin has the highest welfare benefits in the Midwest. Welfare reform imposed time limits on benefits and introduced work requirements. But Wisconsin retained its generous benefit levels. They are nearly 10 percent higher than in Minnesota and almost 30 percent higher than in Illinois.
And Wisconsin has other benefits for low income individuals.
Although state comparisons are difficult to make, the Brookings Institute reports
that Wisconsin has one of the most generous state earned income tax credit programs in the United States. Although described as a tax credit, the state refundable EITC is simply another payment to low income workers.
The problem is, when the economy was really growing from 2003 to 2006, we just increased spending. We, as a state, borrowed money from the transportation fund, etc... We now do not have this to fall back on anymore.
When we attempted to have the conversations that could have really addressed this stuff with our elected leaders in 2006. There was wailing and screaming from the lefties.
Anything and everything was thrown out there to distract us from the real issues. Remember Michael J. Fox and his ads on stem cell research? Doyle's people actually making the claim that Mark Green was against sick children.
How about the ads claiming Mark Green had used illegal funds for his campaign. Ad after ad after ad making this claim. Turns out the funds were made illegal by Doyle's team on the State Elections board, just during election time. After the election "ooopsie", I guess Mark Green never did anything wrong after all.
Remember Doyle insisting "he had balanced the budget". Doyle said this over and over and over again.
If Doyle had really balanced the budget, that means he shoulders the entire burden for the $5.6 billion we are now in debt.
Time and time again the people of Wisconsin were distracted from the realities of life in Wisconsin. Instead they were fed some line of bull about Washington being to blame.
Now, having spent all the money that would or could have gotten us through the rough times, our state is in some pretty dire straights. We do not have the finances to fix the problem without massive tax increases. Money is gone from the Transportation fund. The money is gone from the Patient's compensation fund and still we have the lawsuits to battle costing us even more.
It is a crock.
But hey, by reading the comments in this article, you can see the Republicans are to blame. Not Doyle.
Their ignorance is amazing. There is no arguing with these guys. They will not see the truth because they do not want to see the truth.
We got the government we asked for and are stunned when you find out you have been lied to.