Expungement reform would put
people back to work

Wisconsin’s law, which requires a judge to decide on expungement at the time of sentencing, is unlike any in the nation.

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Proven successes in reform

Experts at the Badger Institute Policy Symposium discuss ways that Wisconsin can improve its criminal justice system.

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Wisconsin Tax Options: A Guide
to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Reform

A new book by the Badger Institute and the Tax Foundation details how Wisconsin’s overall tax structure remains behind competitor states in simplicity, tax rates and business climate for residents and investment.

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The absurdity of PSC's 'avian mortality study'

Commission staff adds expensive requirement to Two Creeks solar farm project without considering the cost or whether a bird-death problem even exists.

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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 the Badger Institute Policy Symposium


What's new from the Badger Institute

Badger Institute is now hiring

The Badger Institute is seeking a public affairs associate and a marketing and media coordinator to join its growing team. Read more here.

Tax Foundation analyzes tax proposals in Gov. 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.

Wisconsin'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 recent 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.


Overcoming a mountain of occupational regulation in Wisconsin

New report doesn’t include comparisons with other states and policy recommendations. By visiting fellow Ed Timmons.

Institute grows team, moves to larger office

Julie GraceKirsten GolinskiEd Timmons




The Badger Institute's growth will allow even greater impact on key policy issues, President Mike Nichols says. Recent personnel changes include: Julie Grace, policy analyst in the Institute's Center for Opportunity; Kirsten Golinski, development associate; and Dr. Ed Timmons, visiting fellow.

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 encouraged, 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 nonprofit organizations and employers to increase the likelihood of successful transition back to the community, breaking the cycle of incarceration. 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 Badger Institute visiting fellows Ike Brannon and Andrew Hanson.

Rethinking Wisconsin’s Highways

The Badger Institute hosted transportation expert Bob Poole to discuss Rethinking Wisconsin’s Highways. Poole promoted public-private partnerships and user-based tolls to address the congestion, maintenance, funding battles and pork barrel spending associated with the status quo. Watch the video here.

The impact and influence of the Badger Institute




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Support 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

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

The Case Against The Kimberly-Clark 'Bailout' Plan
Wisconsin Public Radio: February 28, 2018

Wisconsin seeks to build new prison
"UpFront with Mike Gousha": February 24, 2018

The Kimberly-Clark bailout is a bad idea
Right Wisconsin: February 21, 2018

Licensing reform could fulfill aspiring chiropractor's lifelong dream
Right Wisconsin: February 20, 2018

Why toll roads are Wisconsin's only realistic solution to its transportation roadblock
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: February 14, 2018

Tax credit, welfare reform among key issues facing Wisconsin lawmakers
Wisconsin Watchdog: February 9, 2018

The Badger Institute: Value-added tolling would address Gov. Walker’s concerns
WisPolitics.com: February 8, 2018

Value-added tolling would address Gov. Walker’s concerns
Urban Milwaukee: February 8, 2018

New law makes it easier on barbers
NBC26 in Green Bay: December 3, 2017

Other views: The festering mess that is Illinois
Janesville Gazette: November 29, 2017

Mike Nichols on federal tax spending at local school districts
The Jerry Bader Show: October 31, 2017

RightWisconsin Conversations with Michael Jahr
RightWisconsin podcast: October 25, 2017

WPRI becomes the Badger Institute
Today's TMJ4: October 24, 2017

Mike Nichols on name change from WPRI
The Jerry Bader Show: October 18, 2017

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
Rock 94.7 FM: August 23, 2017

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

Barber, UW student to explain how licensure stymies their startups
WisBusiness.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

Dems attempt to mobilize lobbyists against licensing reform
Media Trackers: July 6, 2017