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Madison economist believes immigration reform would help state biz climate

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A Madison economist says immigration reform could be a good thing for the state’s business climate in the long run.

David Ward of Northstar Economics in Madison says Wisconsin’s total workforce is reaching its peak – and he expects it to hold steady or even shrink in the coming years.

For that reason, Ward tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that immigration reform could be more of an opportunity to the Badger State than a threat. And Wisconsin Taxpayers’ Alliance president Todd Berry says it’s worth considering as President Obama and Congress are about to tackle the immigration issue.

The Tax Alliance has issued a critical report explaining why Wisconsin’s job growth has lagged behind the nation as a whole since the mid-1990’s. The state’s job growth has outpaced the country only about a quarter of the time.

The Tax Alliance says it’s because the growth of working age adults in Wisconsin is only a-third of what it’s been nationally – and the Badger State has the country’s second-smallest growth in new businesses.

Berry says that latter fact is most likely because the state has a history of people who are reluctant to take risks. 

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