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Wisconsin is the 14th Best State for Business 2014

“Since taking office in 2011, my number one goal has been to help the private sector create jobs by establishing a favorable climate for economic growth,” Gov. Walker told Chief Executive magazine. Chief Executive’s ranking, he said, reflects the improved business climate in Wisconsin resulting from “our aggressive strategy to grow the economy, develop our workforce, transform education, reform government, and invest in our infrastructure.”

Previous State: Utah Next State: South Dakota

No. 14 Wisconsin

Taxations & Regulations

Workforce Quality

Living Environment

Key Metrics
State GDP 

  • % Growth ’12-’13: 1.7
  • % Growth ’11-’12 v. Nat’l Avg. (2.5%): -1


  • Unemployment Rate Dec. 2013 %: 6.2
  • Comparison with Nat’l Rate (6.70%): -0.5

Domestic Migration

  • Domestic Net Migration 2013: -8,158
  • Rank: 39

State Government

  • State Debt per Capita Fiscal Year ’13 ($): 4,292
  • State & Local Gov’t Employees per 10k Residents: 503

State-Local Tax Burden

  • Rate (%): 11.1%
  • Compared to Nat’l Avg. (9.9%): 1.21%
Key Companies
  • Johnson Controls
  • Kohl’s
  • Manpower
  • Oshkosh
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Rockwell Automation
Development Trend Indicator: Positive
Continues climb in tax-friendliness and now tackles regulatory reform.
CEO Comments
“Gov. Walker has turned around Wisconsin’s tax and business climate. A significant improvement over previous administrations.” 

“Wisconsin, with Gov. Walkers reforms is becoming a very good place to do business. Wis. pensions are fully funded. The state is running a surplus and cutting taxes.”

“Wisconsin is making an effort to reduce regulation and tax problems for businesses. Governor Walker has done an excellent job turning Wisconsin around and needs to continue to build a positive environment for business in the state.”

“With respect to NY, NJ and PA,there is actually a bimodal ranking. For example, there are some parts of the workforce that are exceptional (eg great academic institutions, professionals. But the rest of the work force is not nearly as accomplished. Great arts, but terrible schools. CA taxes, cost of living, out of control budget, unaccountable legislature, regulatory environment, unstable tectonic plates..Other than that…..”

“Wisconsin is moving in the right direction on taxes and regulations. Lower cost simplified communications on regulations.”

Based on CEO Survey by

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Tax Foundation


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