Past events

Reviving Wisconsin’s Economy Through Tax Reform

Register to Watch Here

Wednesday, July 15

10:00 am CT (60 mins)

Reviving Wisconsin’s Economy Through Tax Reform


Katherine Loughead

Senior Policy Analyst for the Tax Foundation and principal author of Wisconsin Tax Options: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Reform

Mike Nichols

President of the Badger Institute

You are invited to join Badger Institute President Mike Nichols and Tax Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Katherine Loughead on Tax Day, July 15, for an interactive Zoom discussion of tax reform options that can stimulate growth, revive businesses, decrease unemployment and refill government coffers.

How Wisconsin can save businesses, create jobs and refill government coffers

Wisconsin workers and businesses have suffered a series of body blows in 2020. Thousands of businesses were closed and hundreds of thousands of workers sidelined by a combination of coronavirus, economic shutdown and civil unrest.

Businesses large and small are at a tipping point. Workers are reeling as record-low unemployment levels morphed into near-record-high levels in a matter of months.

Government entities are also feeling the pinch as tax revenues from all sources decline. Services ranging from education to infrastructure are likely to have fewer resources as the state economy struggles.

In addition, Loughead and Nichols will discuss:

  • How the federal CARES Act will affect the future of state and local tax policy in Wisconsin.
  • How Wisconsin can improve its unemployment insurance tax status to prevent employers from taking another hit.

Badger Institute Symposium Series

Please join the Badger Institute for a roundtable discussion on work, poverty and the use of federal safety nets to promote self-reliance

When: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Where: Wisconsin State Capitol - North Hearing Room
Time: 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Angela Rachidi: Served as deputy commissioner for the New York City Department of Social Services from 2007-2015. She is now a Rowe Scholar in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute and is author of the new Badger Institute report "Wisconsin's Missing Rung"
Michael Luckey: Research assistant for Rep. Mike Rohrkaste and former director of the Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness
Pastor Jerome Smith: Founder of the Joseph Project, a Wisconsin nonprofit that connects job-seekers to employment opportunities

Michael Jahr: Senior Vice President for the Badger Institute

In January, The Badger Institute released Wisconsin's Missing Rung, a report authored by Angela Rachidi, resident scholar in poverty studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Rachidi examined how the Badger State can better leverage three federal safety net programs - SNAP, TANF and the EITC - to advance employment goals for low-income families. She found that the most effective way for the state to help disadvantaged residents achieve self-reliance is to pair employment supports with policies designed to make receipt of benefits contingent upon employment. Her report concludes that while policies linked to work are critical to lifting people out of poverty, Wisconsin appears to be headed in the opposite direction.

For more details please contact Michael Jahr at 262-442-5208 or

Ball of Collusion: A Conversation with Andrew C. McCarthy

Co-hosted by the Badger Institute and National Review Institute

When: Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Where: Madison Club | Capitol Room, Madison, WI
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

-5:30 p.m. Registration | 6:00 p.m. Book Talk | Book Signing to follow
 -$10 Registration Fee includes hors d'oeuvres 
-Cash Bar

Register Online


This is a story about what happens when those we trust to be the guardians of our system anoint themselves the masters of our system. For our own good, of course. As for collusion, that word we’ve heard so incessantly from pundits and leaky government officials, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has rendered his judgment that there was none—at least, not the collusion he was hunting for. There really was a collusion plot, though. And it really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for self-determination. It was just not the collusion you’ve been told about.

Was the collusion narrative an elaborate fraud? And if so, choreographed by whom?


Andrew C. McCarthy, a former top federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at National Review Institute, a contributing editor at National Review, a Fox News contributor, and a well-known commentator on legal, national security and political affairs.

McCarthy is a former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney in New York, best known for leading the prosecution against the Blind Sheik (Omar Abdel Rahman) and 11 other jihadists for waging a terrorist war against the United States—including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. After the 9/11 attacks, he supervised the U.S. attorney’s command post near Ground Zero. He later served as an advisor to the deputy secretary of defense.

He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Willful Blindness: A Memoir of Jihad (2008) and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (2010), as well as Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy (2013) and Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment (2014). His new book, Ball of Collusion, was released on August 13, 2019.

Badger Institute's Annual Dinner Featuring Karl Rove

When: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Where: Wisconsin Club, Milwaukee, WI
Time: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Table Sponsorships: Tables of 8 seats
Platinum Sponsorship: $10,000 - 8 tickets to VIP reception with Karl Rove, 2-page ad spread in program and priority seating
Gold Sponsorship: $5,000 - 4 tickets to VIP reception with Karl Rove, 1-page ad spread in program and preferred seating
Silver Sponsorship: $2,000 - 2 tickets to VIP reception with Karl Rove

Individual Tickets:
$175 per person
$500 per person, which includes access to VIP reception with Karl Rove

Karl Rove is a visionary on public policy and one of the most sought-after, provocative and knowledgeable political pundits of our time.

Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000-2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004-2007.

Rove writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, appears frequently on the Fox News Channel and is the author of The New York Times best seller, Courage and Consequence. His latest book is The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1886 Still Matters.

To sign up, get details regarding sponsorship opportunities or have any allergy concerns please contact Kirsten Golinski at 229-894-4496 or, or register here.


Michigan’s model for cutting crime, closing prisons and curtailing costs

John Proos speaks at the May 22 Badger Institute event in Madison.In March 2017, the Michigan Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a multi-bill criminal justice reform package that was the statutory culmination of several years of budgetary reforms and legislative oversight. The results were impressive:

• The consolidation and closure of 20 correctional facilities1
• A 25% reduction in prison population2
• $1.2 billion in savings/avoided costs3
• A 9% reduction in violent crime4

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s prison population continues to grow, costs are on the rise and there’s talk of building a new prison.

Could Michigan’s reforms be a model for Wisconsin? Former Michigan state Sen. John Proos, a Marquette University graduate and Republican from St. Joseph who helped shepherd the reform package through the Legislature, believes the answer is yes.

More than 60 legislators, department heads, legislative staff and others attended our Capitol event on May 22 at which, Proos, former chair of the legislative budget subcommittees overseeing corrections and the judiciary budgets, described the bipartisan reform measures Michigan adopted and the dramatic improvements that followed.

Watch Video Here.


1Between 2005 and 2018, Senate Fiscal Agency, Winter 2019 report. 251,800 inmates in December 2007 compared to 38,800 in December 2018. 3Annual savings in 2018. 42017 compared to 2010 per


The premiere of “The Pursuit”

On April 29, America's Future Foundation/Conservative Young Professionals and the Badger Institute hosted the Milwaukee premiere of the AEI documentary “The Pursuit” at Marcus Southgate Cinema.

Professional musician turned intrepid economist, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks travels around the globe in search of an answer to the question: How can we lift up the world, starting with those at the margins of society?

His journey takes him through the chaotic streets of Mumbai, a town in Kentucky left behind by the global economy, a homeless shelter in New York, a street protest in Barcelona and a Himalayan Buddhist monastery. Along the way, he discovers the secrets not only to material progress for the least fortunate but also true and lasting happiness for all.

Watch Trailer Here.


Badger Institute President Mike Nichols speaks at the institute's Feb. 20 Policy Symposium in Madison.Common-sense Solutions for Wisconsin

The Badger Institute's Policy Symposium, "Common-sense Solutions for Wisconsin," was held on Feb. 20, 2019, at the state Capitol in Madison.

The symposium introduced common-sense ideas and strategies designed to make Wisconsin a better place to live, work, raise a family and do business. Scholars, experts and distinguished guests offered policy ideas to inform and inspire on topics ranging from transportation funding to criminal justice reform to the ideal tax structure for our state.

Wisconsin’s Ideal Pro-Growth Tax Structure 

Katherine Loughead, Policy Analyst with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation

Joe Bishop-Henchman, Executive Vice President at the Tax Foundation

Mike Nichols, President of the Badger Institute

►  Watch Video here.

►  View PowerPoint Here.

Proven Successes in Criminal Justice Reform

Cecelia Klingele, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin Law School

Tom Lyons, State Director, Wisconsin Right on Crime

Jeremiah Mosteller, Policy Liaison for the Charles Koch Institute

►  Watch Video of Presentation Here.

Occupational Licensing: At What Cost?   

Dr. Morris Kleiner, Professor and AFL-CIO Chair in Labor Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and co-author of “At What Cost? State and National Estimates of the Economic Costs of Occupational Licensing.”

►  Watch Video Here.

►  View PowerPoint Here.

Transportation Needs and Funding   

Dale Knapp, Director, Forward Analytics

Robert W. Poole Jr., Director of Transportation Policy at the Reason Foundation and author of “Rethinking America's Highways: A 21st-Century Vision for Better Infrastructure.”

►  Watch Video Here.

► View Knapp's PowerPoint Here.

► View Poole's PowerPoint Here.