A State Report Card

September 2015


The governor’s 1997 Lyall Commission recommended that “an annual report card on the state of the Wisconsin economy be issued, tracking progress in the growth of quality jobs, education, and training.” Since 1998, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has met that charge, tracking state performance in areas ranging from economics and finance to education and infrastructure.

Noted American author James Baldwin wrote: “If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.” Others as varied as Lewis Carroll and Yogi Berra have offered similar advice.
That is why businesses benchmark performance, professors grade students, and coaches study player statistics. Continuous improvement requires honest assessment.
For 18 years, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has applied this concept in issuing the Badger State’s only report card. Annually, it benchmarks performance in areas ranging from job and firm creation to student performance, state fiscal health, and road quality.
This kind of knowledge can aid public officials in forgoing stale partisan rhetoric in favor of developing and implementing sound policies to spur the economy, strengthen the workforce, and improve Wisconsin’s quality of life.
This one-of-a-kind report card tracks indicators spanning seven areas. State progress is assessed, both against our own past and relative to neighboring states and the nation.