In the 2010 Wisconsin governor's race, then-candidate Scott Walker established a lofty goal for the state to create 250,000 private sector jobs within his first term. The number was big, it was bold, and more than anything, the statement put private sector businesses on notice that the state was going to do better.
Some are critical of the governor for “only” creating 102,800 private sector jobs so far. Would those same people be critical if Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy promised to deliver two Super Bowl titles in as many years and only delivered one?
To be sure, with 102,800 jobs created over the past three and a half years, job growth in the State has been tepid; however, the turnaround in the state's overall business climate has been nothing short of remarkable. During the same campaign, candidate Walker often stated “Government doesn't create jobs, people do.” Much like a startup business that is in the beginning stages of executing the correct strategy, economic development in the State of Wisconsin is breaking loose and “people” are once again creating jobs.
The Independent Business Association of Wisconsin believes that the State of Wisconsin is headed in the right direction and the foundation that has been established to improve the business climate in the state is starting to bear fruit.
Why has there been such a disconnect between private sector job creation when measured against the vastly improved business climate of the state?
Despite the abundant amount of opinions as to the singular answer to this dilemma, this is a very difficult question to answer without considering multiple dynamics. Lacking a robust technology cluster that produces scalable startup businesses, or the oil and gas resources of a state like Texas, a state like Wisconsin needs to compete on the merits of its business climate in order to entice employers to invest in their enterprises. One only needs to look at the performance of Indiana over the past decade to understand how a state can compete with its overall business climate as being the top deliverable to a company. By this metric, the Walker administration has performed far better than anyone operating a private enterprise could have ever expected.
The following is a brief listing of high level accomplishments from the Walker administration: