Survey: Support for Business Is Strong in Wisconsin

Building the New Wisconsin Economy Survey
The Business Equation: Key Findings

Respondents are sensitive to the impacts of taxes and regulation on business

In a recent statewide survey of Wisconsin residents, conducted on behalf of the Building the New Wisconsin Economy project, respondents express support for business on two fronts: the burdens of taxation and the costs of regulation. By a margin of 2-to-1, state residents agree that state and local taxes make it harder for businesses in Wisconsin to compete with companies in other states.

Two thirds of people aged 45 to 64 think that taxes put Wisconsin businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Sixty-nine percent of people who describe themselves as conservatives say that taxes make it harder for state businesses to compete. Self-described liberals are evenly divided on the question of the impact of state and local taxes—45% say that taxes make it harder for businesses to compete and 45% say that taxes support high quality local services and benefit businesses.

On the issue of regulation, 49% of respondents think that regulation hurts economic development efforts, compared with 39% who believe that regulations are appropriate and do not have a detrimental effect on economic development.

Just under three fourths (71%) of respondents in this study report that they work for a company. One in four people works for a company with 500 or more employees, while almost twice that many (47%) work for companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Looking more closely at people who report that they are employed by a company (that is, not self-employed, retired, homemakers or unemployed), it becomes clear that younger people are more likely to work for smaller firms. Almost three fourths of people 18 to 44 years of age (72%) are employed in firms with fewer than 500 employees. More than half of these younger workers (55%) are employed by small companies of 100 employees or less. By contrast, 35% of people aged 45 to 64 are employed by companies with 100 or fewer employees.

While the workplace is characterized by smaller companies, those firms are stable, according to the respondents in this survey. Eight out of 10 workers say that their employer has operated in Wisconsin for more than 10 years.

The Building the New Wisconsin Economy survey was conducted by Wood Communications Group. Interviews were completed with a random sample of 500 Wisconsin residents aged 18 years or older. These results are an accurate reflection of the opinions of Wisconsin adults within a 4.5% margin of error.