Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Political Beat

Gov. Scott Walker is annoyed with the media. He says reporters and editors are paying too much attention to news of companies closing or laying off workers.

Walker wants more people to be talking about the state’s 4.2 percent unemployment rate, which is below the national rate of 5.0 percent.

Meanwhile, the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance reported that Wisconsin currently trails Minnesota by 8.5 percent in per capita income. By comparison, Wisconsin had a 5 percent lead over Minnesota in the period ending back in 1966, the WTA report said.

Wisconsin still has 5.5 percent more tax filers than Minnesota, but the number of those earning $200,000 or more is 43.6 percent higher in Minnesota.

The WTA said one factor is that there are more jobs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area than in the four-county Milwaukee metropolitan area. Minnesota’s corporate headquarters tend to be in the Twin Cities metro area, while just half of Wisconsin’s corporate headquarters are in the Milwaukee metro area.

Having a larger number of corporate headquarters in an area helps provide a “vibrant and fluid labor market” with a pool of seasoned individuals who can easily move to other companies, the WTA added.

Attracting and retaining a quality corporate workforce has long been a topic among Milwaukee business and government leaders. A poll sponsored by the Public Policy Forum of nearly 500 millennials working in the Milwaukee area provided a new focus on the question.

The top issue for them is the crime rate, followed by the economy.

Taxes were not a key issue in the poll of Milwaukee-area millennials. Lowering income taxes has long been a part of the Wisconsin Republican approach for economic development.

Someone is sure to note that Minnesota has higher income tax rates than Wisconsin.

-Matt Pommer is the “dean” of Capitol correspondents in Madison. His column is published with permission from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, but does not reflect the views or opinions of the WNA or its members newspapers.

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