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State's per-capita personal income jumps

Feb. 12, 2002 Milwaukee (AP) – Wisconsin’s per-capita personal income grew by 54 percent from 1990 to 2000, a new report says. But Wisconsin’s per-capita personal income of $28,066 was still below the U.S. average of $29,451 in 2000, said Jon Udell, the report’s author. He says last decade’s performance is especially impressive considering the federal government’s lack of spending in the state.
Udell said the state is home to only 1 percent of the federal work force although it has 2 percent of the nation’s population. "It’s amazing Wisconsin did as well as it did in the last decade," Udell said, adding that personal income from farming fell 58 percent from 1990 to 2000. "The national farming program certainly has not helped Wisconsin," Udell said.

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Thomas Hefty, chairman of Milwaukee-based Cobalt Corp., has complained for years about Wisconsin’s lack of federal jobs. "It is holding back the economy directly," Hefty said. "That shortfall in federal funds directly impacts the jobs and the quality of jobs in Wisconsin." Hefty said if Wisconsin had its fair share of federal jobs, it would mean about 31,000 additional jobs with an average income of $45,000 each. Udell said boosting federal spending is one way of strengthening the state’s economy. Another way is to reduce taxes on personal income to retain and attract more workers, he said. Udell, who holds the Irwin Maier Chair of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has studied Wisconsin’s economy for 40 years.

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