A Primer on Occupational Licensing

What is occupational licensing, how does it affect employment and consumer costs, and what options exist for reform?

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Report: Absence and Violation

Wisconsin licensing boards are routinely in violation of law requiring public representation.

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Wisconsin's Missing Rung

Policies linked to work are critical to lifting people out of poverty

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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).

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Video - Dental therapy: A proven remedy to oral care shortages in Wisconsin

1.2 million Wisconsinites live in dental care shortage areas. Children, seniors, veterans & the disabled are most likely to lack access to oral care. Here’s a successful effort to provide dental care to underserved populations without relying on taxpayers.

Watch the video

What's new from the Badger Institute

'Sunrise review would inform legislators about impact of proposed occupational licenses

Wisconsin should join states that have enacted sunrise laws as an alternative to new licenses that fence out workers and don't protect the public. Read the article here.

Problems with prosecutor funding in Wisconsin

The current system is vulnerable to politics and perverse incentives. Read the article here.

VIDEO: The Importance of Work and Lifting People Out of Poverty

Angela Rachidi, resident scholar in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Eloise Anderson, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and a Badger Institute visiting fellow, discuss safety net programs and work in Wisconsin. Rachidi is author of the January 2020 Badger Institute report "Wisconsin’s missing rung: Policies linked to work are critical to lifting people out of poverty." Watch the video here.

Diggings Fall 2019

Legislators in lockstep: Election reforms gain support
Government's unfair housing foray
The perils of state-run retirement plans
No need for state-run student loan refinancing
Where dental therapy is longer in the tooth
Federal programs won't go away
Wealth tax doomed socialist mayor Emil Seidel
Wealth tax is counterproductive
Who's gonna pay for DNC convention in Milwaukee?
Frontlines: A profile of Margaret Farrow
Culture Con: Madison school district assumes it knows best
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.

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




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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

Occupational licenses: Consumer safeguard or job barrier?
Wisconsin Examiner: January 9, 2020

Conservative Badger Institute Has Issues With Evers
WHBL: January 8, 2020

UpFront: Taxpayer watchdog concerned about DNC
WISN: Jan 5, 2020

Using dental therapists in Wisconsin draws broad support, but Wisconsin Dental Association opposed
Milwaukee 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
The 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, 2018Badger 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