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Legislator Rejects UW Economist’s Report Disputing Benefits Of Right-To-Work Laws

Deller's Report Says Right-To-Work Laws Are More Symbolic Than Encouraging Economic Growth

UW-Madison campus in winter
Photo: ousman_g

A Republican state lawmaker and outspoken critic of the University of Wisconsin took aim at a UW economist on Monday for producing research that disputes the benefits of right-to-work laws.

State Sen. Steve Nass sent an email to reporters, legislators and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW System President Ray Cross calling a report by UW-Madison and UW-Extension economist Steven Deller “yet another example of wasted resources” at the university. Nass added that “hiding behind academic freedom to issue partisan, garbage research is what we have come to expect” at the UW.

Deller’s two-page report found that wages — and manufacturing wages in particular — are lower in states with right-to-work laws, saying they’re more symbolic than an actual economic growth policy.

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Deller called Nass’ remarks another “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts” reaction.

This latest dustup comes at a time when Republicans are poised to pass right-to-work legislation and right before they’re about to start work on a state budget that would make significant cuts to the UW System.