Monday, April 10, 2006

New Report Confirms It – Wisconsin a Great Place to Live

Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. just released its annual report card for Wisconsin.

In the report, the group explains that Wisconsin benefits from some very desirable attributes that make it an attractive place to live. At the core of these attributes is public education.

According to the summary of the report: “The state’s educational system continues to produce high performing graduates and skilled workers.” As evidence, it notes that Wisconsin ranks among the highest in the region in standardized test scores (second only to Minnesota) and also ranks ten percentage points higher than the national average for high school graduation rate.

Wisconsin is also strong in terms of health care—ranking five percentage points above the national average in terms of citizens with health insurance coverage. The Badger State also fairs better in relation to the national average and most other Midwestern states on unemployment, poverty, home ownership, and crime.

Predictably, conservatives are ignoring the positive aspects of the report.

Mark Green has already released a press statement focusing on one aspect of the report that shows 12.2% of personal income goes toward state and local taxes. This figure is down from over 13% in the mid-1990s, but it is slightly higher than the 2000-2001 figure of 11.9%.

Apparently in an election year that 0.3% increase over five years means it’s outrage time.

Green doesn’t mention Wisconsin’s strong showing in public education, nor does he comment on the high health insurance rates, high homeownership rates, low crime rates, low poverty rates, or low unemployment rates. In fact, Green actually contradicts the findings of the report in the end of his statement by referring to education in Wisconsin as "inadequate."

Since Wisconsin spends most of its public revenue on education and health care for its citizens, it's no surprise the state ranks so high in those categories.

I guess to connect the dots between taxes and strong social services is too politically threatening for a Republican these days. Apparently it's more of a political winner for the GOP to either ignore the positive attributes of the state or take it an extra step by making false statements about the quality of our state services.

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