October 26, 2006
To whom it may concern:
From its inception, the Wisconsin Technology Council has believed a culture of creativity, diversity and tolerance is essential to growing a prosperous, innovation-based economy for all citizens of the state. Here is an excerpt from “Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy,” first published in 2002.
“… Wisconsin needs to create a climate that encourages creative people who in turn can produce ideas and businesses that create wealth. Wealth can only be created in an atmosphere of diversity and tolerance. These social and cultural values are important if we are to achieve our goals of developing a high-growth economy in the future. … The public virtues of openness and diversity are common characteristics of all wealthy societies.”
The mission and goals set by “Vision 2020” remain a touchstone for the Tech Council, which was created in 2001 to serve as the independent, non-profit science and technology adviser to the Governor and the Legislature. The Tech Council also functions as a catalyst for Wisconsin’s high-tech, knowledge-based economy. Its role is to make non-partisan recommendations for promoting and growing that economy, which may include recommendations for protecting or enhancing the state’s culture of creativity, diversity and tolerance.
The board of directors for the Tech Council is concerned about the likely effects of any state laws, local ordinances or constitutional amendments that could threaten that culture of creativity, diversity and tolerance. As noted in “Vision 2020,” many studies have demonstrated that economic prosperity is directly related to the presence of diverse, creative people in our communities.
“Regional economic growth is driven by the location choices of creative people, the holders of creative capital who prefer places that are diverse, tolerant and open to new ideas,” wrote researcher Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class.”
Wisconsin must remain a place where innovative people want to live and work. If existing or proposed laws, ordinances and constitutional amendments send the message that Wisconsin is not diverse or tolerant, the state will be placed at a disadvantage in the national and global competition for human capital. And without the right human capital, Wisconsin cannot grow a prosperous, knowledge-based economy.
Mark D. Bugher, chairman Thomas W. Still, president