Wisconsin Economic Scorecard: State closely divided on mining, income tax cut

The latest edition of the Wisconsin Economic Scorecard finds the state closely divided on mining and on Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to focus the budget surplus on income tax cuts.

In a question about a potential iron ore mine near Ashland, the poll found that a slight majority — 51 percent — feel the possible environmental costs of the mine are a more important consideration than the possible economic benefits, while 41 percent feel the opposite.

Additional information

Poll press release

Detailed poll results

Support for the mining bill was closely divided, with 43 percent in favor of it, 41 percent opposed and 16 percent neutral or uncertain. That’s a shift from the previous quarter, when 48 percent were in favor, 40 percent opposed and 12 percent were neutral or uncertain.

When it comes to allocating the state budget surplus projected over the next two years, 40 percent of respondents would prioritize education funding, 33 percent would prioritize funding for Medicaid, 16 percent would prioritize income tax cuts, and 10 percent would prioritize covering shortfalls in the transportation fund.

Responses were closely divided on a question about Walker’s plan to divert much of the current budget cycle’s surplus towards income tax cuts: 45 percent support the cuts, while 45 percent oppose the plan.

Overall, a solid majority of residents — 61 percent — feel Wisconsin is “headed in the right direction,” but just 27 percent rate the current state economy as “good” and only 1 percent rate it as “excellent.”

The Wisconsin Economic Scorecard is a quarterly poll of Wisconsin residents conducted by the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives and Research in cooperation with WisBusiness.com and Milwaukee Public Radio.

This tracking poll measures perceptions of the health of Wisconsin’s economy, personal economic circumstances of Wisconsin residents, and public opinion regarding important state economic issues. The phone survey of 622 Wisconsin residents was conducted from Feb. 4-7 and has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.