City drops out of top 20I, for one, am not telling where I buried my share of the bodies.
For the first time since before the Civil War, Milwaukee is not among the 20 largest cities in the United States, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. [. . .]
According to the annual figures, which estimate population each July, Milwaukee's population in 2004 was 583,624, down nearly 3,600 residents from the same time in 2003.
But seriously: A bunch of people will probably associate the decline in the city--and in the metro area, generally ("Milwaukee's metro population growth in recent years has sat near the bottom of the country's 43 largest metropolitan areas," the article says) with the topic covered in another article from the paper this morning:
[Peter] Fisher, who earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzes five indexes. Of the four that included Wisconsin in their ratings, the Badger state ranked anywhere from 13th to 41st, with 50th being worst. Fisher challenges the methodology used in the indexes and contends they're poor gauges of a state's economic potential.Last summer I spent a lot of time talking about this issue, and even some last winter. (I'm lazy and summer school starts tomorrow--yes, on a Friday; they don't ask me about these things--do your own archive search.) I've dropped it recently, since jeebus knows that the legislature has given me plenty of other stuff to write about. But it is worth noting, again, what Fisher says in this article, that any kind of national rankings of Wisconsin, our tax rates, our business climate, and whatnot is probably not terribly reliable. Consider, for example that seven states don't have income tax. Or that California's auto registration fee is four times Wisconsin's. It's really difficult to make a fair, easy comparison.
But in reality, our plummet out of the top 20 has much more to do with the growth of the South and the Southwest than any kind of "tax hell" mumbo jumbo promulgated by hardcore "stop me before I spend again!" wingnuts in the state: " 'The pattern of historical migration is one of people moving from the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt, said William Gayk, director of the Center for Demographic Research in Fullerton, Calif." Still, I predict at least three letters to the editor in the next week blaming the taxes.
And, of course, everyone is thinking heavily about taxes and spending, what with there only being a couple of hours left in the fiscal biennium and our not having a budget. Fortunately for me, I will be awake at 6:15 tomorrow morning, so I can keep an eye on the legislature, since that's when they tend to do all the important stuff. I'll let you know.