Where dental therapy is longer in the tooth


Expanding Access: A Decade of Dental Therapists in Minnesota

Read More

Taxpayers Taken for a Ride: The Milwaukee Streetcar


The Hop, a $128 million streetcar that travels a 2.1-mile loop in downtown Milwaukee, is a classic boondoggle made possible by federal grants (i.e., taxpayer money).

Watch the video



Badger Institute annual dinner
featuring Karl Rove


Karl Rove, an iconic political strategist and one of the most sought after political pundits of our time, is speaking at the Badger Institute's annual dinner on Tuesday, October 22, at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee.

Read More

Labor shortage stems from minority education gap

Lack of minority high school and college grads and wide prosperity gaps will only exacerbate the region's growing employee shortage, Milwaukee business leaders fear. By Ken Wysocky

Read More

Licensure reforms fuel entrepreneurs across Wisconsin

Fewer barriers mean barbers and stylists are now free to own and grow their businesses beyond shops and salons. By Marilyn Krause.

Read More

Ex-offenders under watch

Revocation study looks at Wisconsin's complex community corrections system and why many on supervision are failing. By Cecelia Klingele.

Data analysis provides quantitative look at supervision terms. By Julie Grace and Patrick Hughes.

Read More

What's new from the Badger Institute

Wisconsin Should Consider Using Some of its Surplus Revenue for Expensing Reform

Wisconsin can improve it's overall tax structure and create a tax code that is more competitive for decades to come. Read more about it here.

Why are Wisconsin's highways in the bottom third nationwide?

Poor pavement condition and high spending mean the state isn't getting top value from its highway dollars. Read more about it here.

Proposed rule change would increase SNAP integrity

The 2018 Farm Bill failed to address a key loophole in the country's main food assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - a loophole that states have increasingly used over the past decade to expand SNAP income eligibility beyond the intent of the law. Read more about it here.

Diggings Spring 2019

Victor Berger: Virulent bigot
The resurrection of socialism
The Hop’s influence is a flop
Protecting history or promoting agendas?
► Is it high time to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin? Read arguments for and against legalization.
► Guest Opinion: Courage as a modern virtue
► Frontlines: Mike Mooney, on his own terms
► Culture Con: The changing landscape of retail
Editor's Note  ► Badger Briefing

Overall tax reform in Wisconsin depends on the sales tax

The state Department of Revenue's guidelines on taxing ice cream cakes illustrate the absurd complexity of state's sales tax system. By visiting fellow Jay Miller.

Tax Foundation analyzes tax proposals in Evers budget

The Tax Foundation, which partnered with the Badger Institute to publish the recently released Wisconsin Tax Options: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Reform, posted an assessment of the various tax proposals contained in Gov. Tony Evers' budget. The analysis examines changes to the individual income tax, business taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes and transportation taxes. Read the assessment here.

Expungement law reform

Badger Institute policy analyst Julie Grace testifies on March 19 before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee in support of Senate Bill 39, which will make necessary reforms to Wisconsin's expungement law.
Read the transcript of her presentation.
Watch a video excerpt of her testimony.
 Expungement reform would put people back to work.
'Pathways to Employment' news conference.
Proven successes in reform.

Dental therapists: A solution to Wisconsin's costly dental access problem?

Dental therapists could improve access, use and outcomes, while reducing economic costs associated with the dental care monopoly and unnecessary ER visits for dental treatment. Policy brief by Jason Hicks and Morris M. Kleiner.

► Read the brief.   ► Read their op-ed.
► Watch video of Kleiner's presentation at our Policy Symposium.

State's ideal pro-growth tax structure

Wisconsin’s overall tax structure remains behind competitor states in simplicity, tax rates and business climate for residents and investment. How can we reform the tax structure so that the state reaches its full potential? In a video from our Policy Symposium, Joe Bishop-Henchman and Katherine Loughead of the Tax Foundation discuss suggested reforms.
► View their PowerPoint.

Transportation needs and funding

Wisconsin has a transportation funding dilemma. How did it occur, and how can we fix it? In a video from our Policy Symposium, Dale Knapp, director of Forward Analytics, and Robert W. Poole Jr., director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation, discuss growing expenditures, shrinking revenues and tolling solutions.
► View Knapp's PowerPoint. ► View Poole's PowerPoint.

How Wisconsin policy punishes some low-income parents for getting married

Policy brief: The state should make common-sense changes to Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit to mitigate the marriage penalty.

'Banning the box,' or boxing people out?

Policy brief: Fair-chance hiring policies may hurt the job-seekers they aim to help. 

Transportation Funding Dilemma

A primer on Wisconsin's unsustainable transportation revenues. The state's funding challenge is exacerbated by its past reliance on borrowing. By Dale Knapp, director of Forward Analytics.

A journey of second chances

Imagine a prisoner reentry program where the mentors include an FBI agent and a former federal prosecutor. Or a graduation ceremony where ex-offenders are cheered and hugged not just by family and friends but by police officers, prison officials and judges. Imagine what could happen if the law enforcement community partnered with nonprofits and employers to increase the likelihood of successful reintegration to the community. This video tells the story of Partners in Hope, a new reentry program in Milwaukee that has made this vision a reality.

Wisconsin: A Blueprint for More Workers

Report provides an overview of labor force participation in Wisconsin. Increasing the rate by just 1 percentage point would increase state GDP by $667 annually per resident. By visiting fellows Ike Brannon and Andrew Hanson.

The impact and influence of the Badger Institute




Watch Video




Support the Badger Institute


Watch Video

Contribute Here


Project for 21st Century Federalism

The Project for 21st Century Federalism is the Badger Institute's multi-year investigation of the growth in federal grants and their effect on state and local governance. Highlights of the project:

How federal grants are turning state governments against their own people​​​​​​
Badger Institute book urges states to push back
Press release on "Federal Grant$tanding" book
Records request illustrates lack of transparency of federal school funding
Private school principals say federal funding process is flawed
Teachers want to help kids, not do paperwork
Educators decry feds' heavy-handed approach toward local schools
Survey of Wisconsin teachers who work under federally funded programs
Wisconsin school officials want federal role in local education reduced
Full school survey on federal funding
Invasion of the federal bean counters
Schools hire high-priced specialists to deal with complex grant rules
Federal rules distort local education policy
Legislators miss opportunity in ESSA to take control of education
Bureaucratic 'skim' of federal school funding
The federalization of Wisconsin DPI
Cash-strapped school districts burdened by federal grant regulations
Press release on the launch of Federal Grant$tanding project

Badger Institute's media mentions

Using dental therapists in Wisconsin draws broad support, but Wisconsin Dental Association opposed
Journal Sentinel: August 21, 2019

UpFront: Evers vetoes toll road study money
WISN: July 21, 2019

Journal Times editorial: Illinoisans are welcome to move here
Journal Times: July 7, 2019

Republicans say Tony Evers swayed GOP budget
Wisconsin State Journal: July 4, 2019

Cecelia Klingele Discussing Revocation Study
WORT: July 1, 2019

Republicans say Tony Evers swayed GOP budget
Wisconsin State Journal: June 30, 2019

Jay Weber discusses Badger Institute's story on Illinois to Wisconsin migration
The Jay Weber Show: June 28, 2019

WILL & State/National Conservative Groups Warn Legislature on Wedding Barns
Urban Milwaukee: June 10, 2019

Editorial on open records ruling
The Journal Times: June 7, 2019

With DNC deadline looming, critics say city ‘can’t afford’ expansion of The Hop
Fox6Now.com: May 22, 2019

Streetcar expansion: Common Council gears up for discussion this month
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: May 15, 2019

Report: Minimum Wage Hike Could Cost Wisconsin at Least 350,000 Jobs
The Washington Free Beacon: May 8, 2019

Minimum Wage Increase To $15 Could Cost Jobs: Study Author
WXPR Radio: May 7, 2019

Jay Weber discusses Badger Institute's streetcar story
The Jay Weber Show (begins at 45:40 minute mark): May 7, 2019

The Hop influence is a flop - Badger Institute
Jaywebershow.com: May 7, 2019

Report: Minimum wage hike could cost Wisconsin at least 350,000 jobs
Wisconsin Watchdog: May 6, 2019

Badger Institute says raising minimum wage would cost jobs
Business North: May 6, 2019

Milwaukee Biz Blog: The Hop hasn’t influenced development downtown
BizTimes: May 6, 2019

Milwaukee Mayor Announces Plans For Streetcar Extension
Wisconsin Public Radio: May 2, 2019

Badger Institute says raising minimum wage would cost jobs
WisBusiness.com: April 30, 2019

Ike Brannon on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour
The Vicki McKenna Show (begins at 44:15 minute mark): April 29, 2019

$15 minimum wage could cost 350,000 jobs
The Brillion News: April 29, 2019

Expungement reform gains overwhelming bipartisan support
The Washington Free Beacon: April 28, 2019

Expungement reform gains overwhelming bipartisan support
Wisconsin Watchdog: April 22, 2019

UW campuses' unionized trades employees pursue long, hard fight for a raise
Wisconsin State Journal: April 21, 2019

Other Views: Expungement reform would put people back to work
GazetteXtra: April 17, 2019

Report: Wisconsin's Earned Income Tax Credit penalizes some low-income parents for marrying
Wisconsin Watchdog: March 3, 2019

Gov. Evers vetoes middle class tax cut amid $588 million revenue surplus
Wisconsin Watchdog: Feb. 21, 2019

President Mike Nichols discusses tax reform with Steve Scaffidi
WTMJ Radio: Feb. 19, 2019

Tony Evers is right: Gap in dental care needs filling
Wisconsin State Journal editorial: Feb. 13, 2019

Road tolls are best way to fund highways
Urban Milwaukee: Feb. 10, 2019

Proposed bill provides offenders second chance to clear criminal records
The Daily Cardinal: Jan. 29, 2019

Supporters get chance to make case for Kimberly-Clark bill
Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Nov. 14, 2018

How federal grants are turning state governments against their own people
The Federalist: Oct. 26, 2018

Report: Growing number of state government jobs federally funded
Wisconsin Public Radio: Oct. 19, 2018

The real achievement of federalism
American Institute for Economic Research: Oct. 16, 2018

How licensing reform can help states and veterans
Real Clear Policy: Oct. 10, 2018

Badger book on federal grants
Cato Institute: Oct. 1, 2018

Wisconsin's criminal expungement rules keep needed workers out of jobs, study says
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: June 6, 2018

Bureaucracy devours funds that could support teaching
Deseret News: May 22, 2018

Analysis highlights tax migration exodus from Wisconsin
Watchdog.org: March 26, 2018

GOP tax bill provision aims to spark investment in low-income neighborhoods
Wisconsin Public Radio: March 18, 2018

Michael Jahr discusses the Center for Opportunity
Right Wisconsin podcast: March 9, 2018