As State lawmakers finish up work on the Wisconsin budget, they would benefit from looking to Dane County as a model for solutions, rather than hampering our ability to continue our successes.

In Dane County we are doing many things right. The facts speak for themselves:

We are the most effective job creator among Wisconsin’s 72 Counties, 56.9% of all the new private sector jobs created in Wisconsin between 2003 and 2013, happened in Dane County. The nearly 20,000 new jobs added here over that decade is three times greater than the next closest county.

Through 2003-2013, 76% of the state’s average monthly employment increase occurred in Dane County. Dane consistently has the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

We are the fastest growing Wisconsin county, 70% of the state’s net population growth is Dane County. 20,000 of the 28,000 new residents added statewide between 2008 and 2012, came to Dane County.

We are a national agricultural leader, Dane County agriculture accounts for over $3.4 billion in economic activity, over 17,000 jobs, and $1.3 billion in total income. Out of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, Dane County ranks 27th nationally in dairy production.

Moreover, we are an elite tourism destination, Dane County experienced a 6.2% increase in direct visitor spending from tourism in 2014, totaling $1.8 billion.

The people of Dane County know their communities, farms, lakes, and businesses and we don’t need the heavy hand of state government telling us what our county should look like, and how and where we should do things.

More people, jobs, and businesses are coming to Dane County than anywhere else. What this community has accomplished is a template to emulate, not something to tear apart out of petty partisanship.

Instead of messing with success, if this legislature actually wants to bring more businesses, jobs, and people, to Wisconsin — it may want to take a page from what we like to call ‘The Dane County Way.’

When it comes to vibrant, sustained economic growth, what state government aspires to accomplish and talks about doing, Dane County has, and continues, to lead the way.

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