by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On the campaign trail in Raleigh last Thursday, Dalton sought to tie McCrory to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. But a review of Walker’s record makes one wonder why Dalton finds this comparison to be a negative
Chief Executive magazine’s annual survey of CEOs on the best and worst states for business had Wisconsin making the biggest improvement of any state following Walker’s regulatory and labor law reforms in 2011, rising to 24th from 41st in 2010 and 43rd the year before that, one of the largest jumps in the survey’s history. This year Wisconsin continued to improve, cracking the survey’s the top 20 for the first time ever. All but the most detached partisans will admit that Wisconsin has gone from one of the least friendly states to do business to one of the best in a relatively short period time thanks to Walker’s reforms, which also had the added benefit of preventing teacher layoffs and facilitating local tax relief.
But such surveys don’t tell the whole story. While the Chief Executive magazine survey underscores Wisconsin’s improvement under Walker, jobs numbers provide a better and more concrete understanding of his success. In fact, job creation is one area where Walter Dalton only wishes he could be compared to Scott Walker. By taking on the budgetary challenges facing his state and telling his constituents the truth, Walker has helped bring Wisconsin’s unemployment rate down from over nine percent when he took office to 7.3 percent today, one percentage point below the national average. Under the past four years of the Perdue-Dalton administration, North Carolina’s already high unemployment has only gone up, from nine percent when they assumed office in 2009 to 9.6 percent today. Walter Dalton may not like Walker’s policies, but he has to envy the results. It’s clear that Walker’s constituents are happy with the results, so much so that he is now the first governor in history to be elected twice in his first term.