WPRI is now the Badger Institute

On its 30th anniversary, the Badger Institute announces new, ambitious tax policy initiative, revamped magazine, fellows program and statewide events

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Why the Badger Institute?

The Badger moniker has deep, meaningful roots in Wisconsin. 

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Digging deeper

We’ve renamed and revamped our magazine. The new issue covers the left’s cultural appropriation complaints, federal regs that wipe out Act 10 savings, Madison’s goofy flag flap and more. 

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Our frozen melting pot

... and who's responsible. The left's cultural appropriation complaints keep Americans separated rather than united. By Aaron Rodriguez.

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Madison's goofy, divisive flag flap

Erecting cultural barriers ices out the melting pot. By Mike Nichols.

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What's New From the Badger Institute

The impact and influence of the Badger Institute

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The Foxconn project

We provide a synopsis of the potential costs and benefits of the Foxconn LCD plant in Racine County and the analyses of three economists and a tech journalist who offer words of both caution and encouragement. 


Webinar on Interstate tolling for Wisconsin

Here's the June 26 webinar featuring Robert W. Poole Jr. on the potential benefits of Interstate tolling as Wisconsin grapples with its perennial transportation funding dilemma. Poole is director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation and author of Rebuilding and Modernizing Wisconsin's Interstate with Toll Financing.

 


Rating YoungStar

How Wisconsin's child care quality rating and improvement system measures up.
By Rob Grunewald, Michael Jahr and Matt Snyder
June 2017

 

 

 


Policy resources for Wisconsin lawmakers

The Badger Institute compiled a list of resources for state policy-makers as they debate issues ranging from professional licensure to transportation funding to corrections reform. This handy compilation includes reports, commentaries and videos designed to inform public discourse on issues that will affect Wisconsin residents for years to come.

 


Licensing rules stymie Green Bay barber and UW entrepreneurs

Albert Walker, an ex-offender whose clients include many Packers players, has years of barbering experience but can’t run his own shop due to an onerous state licensing law.
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Samuel Haack and James Rohde, UW-Madison students, want to launch an Uber-like, on-demand barbering business to connect clients with barbers outside licensed establishments. But Wisconsin's professional licensing regulations stand in their way.

 

 

 


Black Robes & Blue Collars

"Black Robes & Blue Collars" identifies policy changes to Wisconsin's expungement and sentence adjustment laws that could lighten the state's prison load, increase employment opportunities for ex-offenders and help employers find workers. The report includes two policy briefs:

► Problems with Wisconsin’s Expungement Law: How the Law is Used and How to Make It More Equitable and Effective 
► Sentence Adjustment Petitions: Are They Working?
 President's Note: Give judges the information they need

 


Mike Nichols' testimony on professional licensure

On April 6, 2017, Badger Institute President Mike Nichols testified in Madison before the Senate Committee on Public Benefits, Licensing & State-Federal Relations. 

Nichols appeared with Krissy Hudack, a salon owner from northern Wisconsin who says the state's licensure system makes it tough for small businesses like hers. Hudack was among the people whom the Badger Institute profiled in its April report "Government's Love for Licensure."

Read a transcript of Nichols' presentation.

 


Videos of Unlocking Potential event
On Feb. 14, 2017, the Badger Institute hosted a forum titled "Unlocking Potential" that drew more than 100 participants representing law enforcement, the judiciary, the Legislature, business, community groups and faith leaders.

The discussion focused on how ex-inmates, with help from one of their own and the same cops who once pursued them, can find a way back to their families and jobs. 

► Watch full video of the event Watch Full Video.
► Read our "Unlocking Potential" report, which includes an in-depth profile of Hope for Prisoners, Read Unlocking Potential.

 

 


Unlocking Potential
Our report highlights strategy for reducing recidivism through investment in work, training and re-entry programs, and encourages the use of social impact bonds.
Wisconsin's historical policy dilemma on corrections
The state can't afford status quo
Re-entry program offers Hope for Prisoners
Alma Center: Breaking the cycle of abuse
MATC program puts offenders on career path
Private industry, prisons team up
Skilled trades program offers a second chance
Social impact bonds: A new way forward
 Watch Mike Nichols on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" discuss the need for corrections reform.

 

 


Putting the Squeeze on Consumers:
Real-World Impacts of Wisconsin's

Minimum Markup Law
► An in-depth look at how Wisconsin's Depression-era minimum markup law affects consumers and businesses every day.
► Mike Nichols discusses the law on Radio 620 WTMJ's "Midday with Charlie Sykes." Listen to it here.
► Nichols: Minimum markup isn't the American way

Project for 21st Century Federalism

The Project for 21st Century Federalism is a multi-year investigation of the growth in federal grants and their effect on state and local governance. The latest stories in the project:

Press release on Walker asking DPI to resubmit education funding plan
Federal rules distort local education policy
► Wisconsin legislators missing opportunity in ESSA to take control of education
► Follow the money: Federal grants are the key to constraining bureaucracy
HUD report leaves questions unanswered regarding tribe's use of federal funds
Sunshine Week: Federal grants obscure spending, diffuse accountability
► The bureaucratic 'skim' of federal school funding
The federalization of Wisconsin DPI
Keeping ‘real money’ local helps solve real problems
Analysis: Cash-strapped school districts burdened by federal grant regulations
While poverty persists for St. Croix Chippewa, tribe officials misuse federal funds, audit shows
Press release on the launch of the Federal Grant$tanding project

 

Badger Institute Media Mentions

Local schools deserve local control
Sheboygan Press: October 1, 2017

Local schools deserve local control
WisPolitics.com: September 26, 2017

Walker objects to challenger's Wisconsin education plan
USnews.com: September 14, 2017

Green Bay barber testifying to Legislature
WSAU.com: August 23, 2017

Look down the road in transportation funding debate
The Cap Times: July 21, 2017

Wisconsin residents still pay a mother lode of taxes
Wisconsin State Journal: July 6, 2017

Local Wisconsin leaders react to Trump's visit
Washington Examiner: June 13, 2017


NFL barber shop faces same kind of threat hurting patients
Townhall.com: June 9, 2017


Study finds Wisconsin poverty rate reached new low in 2015
Wisconsin Watchdog: June 8, 2017

Federal grants are the key to restraining bureaucracy
Washington Examiner: May 11, 2017

Bills meant to deregulate cosmetologists and barbers earn praise, raise concerns
WSAW-TV: May 3, 2017

Proposal would eliminate Wisconsin license for hair stylists 
WTMJ-TV: April 17, 2017

Poole: Wisconsin should act now on interstate tolling
Journal Sentinel: April 17, 2017

A new approach for occupational licensing in Wisconsin
Sheboygan Press: April 7, 2017

Can Milwaukee be considered a 'donor' city?
Sheboygan Press: March 31, 2017

Federal grant funding obscures how government is funded, diffuses accountability
Sunshine Week website: March 14, 2017

Nichols, Brannon: Help kids succeed before they get to college
Journal Sentinel: March 5, 2017

Hanson: EITC expansion will help Wisconsin's low- and middle-income workers
Journal Sentinel: February 23, 2017


Nichols: Rebuilding lives and the economy
Journal Sentinel: February 12, 2017

How a law designed to promote fairness is hiking gas prices in Wisconsin
The Daily Signal: February 9, 2017

Federalism is a watchword in new year
Rhinelander Daily News: February 2, 2017

Republicans urge Congress to cut back federal mandates
Minneapolis Star Tribune: January 24, 2017

New state Assembly committee looking at ways to take more control from federal government
Kenosha News: January 24, 2017

Alma Center addresses root causes of domestic violence
Journal Sentinel: December 18, 2016

Mike Nichols on corrections reform
"UpFront with Mike Gousha": December 11, 2016

Brannon: How to fix America's colleges
Journal Sentinel: November 26, 2016


Benson: Governing local is governing best
Journal Sentinel: November 13, 2016
Real Clear Policy: November 15, 2016

Franzen: Wisconsin GOP legislators should govern as true conservatives
Journal Sentinel: November 13, 2016

Experts assess college affordability proposals
Wausau Daily Herald: October 25, 2016


Congressman requests information from HUD regarding audits of St. Croix tribe
Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 28, 2016

Report suggests reimagined UW campus
Journal Sentinel:  September 29, 2016

Does lack of transparency encourage misuse of funds?
Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 2016

St. Croix Chippewa tribe officials misuse federal funds, audit shows, while poverty persists
Inter-County Leader & Washburn County Register: September 2016

Woodson: Take steps toward progress: responsibility, introspection
Journal Sentinel: August 21, 2016

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