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  • FOCUS: As transportation finance problem languishes, ironies emerge

    Wisconsin's transportation finance problem is well-known. As it continues unsolved, ironies surrounding the debate emerge. Income and sales tax collections rise almost automatically, fueling general fund spending growth, while the stagnant gas tax leaves the transportation fund cash-poor. The fund's accumulating debt costs and ever-present "jobs" rhetoric from state politicians suggest other ironies.

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  • FOCUS: Return of K-12 borrowing little noticed, topped $1.35 billion in 2016

    Wisconsin is seeing a resurgence in school district borrowing. Last year, districts approved a record $1.35 billion in new debt. That was 10 times more than five years ago and the most since at least 1993. Another $707.9 million in borrowing is being requested this spring. Voter approval rates for both borrowing (77.1%) and revenue-limit (81.7%) referenda are near or exceeding 80%.

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  • TAXPAYER: Big Changes Happen Slowly

    Total state-local taxes in Wisconsin claimed 10.8% of income in 2014, the lowest percentage since 1962. but 16th highest among the 50 states. The Badger State ranked 21st on total spending. About two-thirds of public sector spending here is either for education, public welfare or roads. During 1993-2014, public welfare spending increased 224%, almost double the rate of all other programs.

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  • Blog: Lottery Advertising: You Be the Judge. Or the Statistician

    Wisconsin state budget bills are usually 1,000 or more pages in length and contain many small items that receive little or no attention. That is not to say, however, that serious questions cannot arise from the minutiae. One example from the new 2017-19 budget makes the point. In the Department of Revenue section of the 632-page “Executive Budget” book is this request:

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  • FOCUS: The governor's proposed state budget: A first look

    Over the next two years, Governor Walker (R) proposes to spend $76.1 billion, $33.9 billion from the general fund. Net general fund spending would rise 8.3% over the next two years, the second largest two-year increase since 2005-07. Some of the new spending is paid for by reducing the projected $453 million surplus to just $82 million in 2019.

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  • Taxpayer: New Legislature, Same Issues?

    The 2016 elections yielded some surprises. Republicans gained a seat in each house and now hold majorities of 64-35 in the assembly and 20-13 in the senate. Many races featured little competition: In 41 of 115 seats up for election, one candidate was on the ballot; in another 21, major party candidates had only third party or no post-primary competition. Legislative focus in the first half of 2017 will be crafting the 2017-19 state budget.

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Unwrapping the Governor's Budget Proposal

The governor’s new 2017-19 state budget proposes increased funding for K-12 schools, the University of Wisconsin System, and local roads. The $76.1 billion spending package from all funds also includes income and property tax cuts, along with a sales tax holiday. But the governor pays for $371 million of spending by drawing down surpluses, raising deficit concerns should the economy slow.

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Order Now: 2017-18 Legislative Directory is here!

The 36th edition of our biennial, 24-page Wisconsin Legislative and Congressional Directory is here! In addition to legislative contact information, the directory contains committee chairs, individual maps of the 33 senate districts and with their associated assembly districts, as well as a state map of the eight U.S. congressional districts. The directory includes the name, address, party affiliation, telephone number, and election results for each legislator, and lists legislative leaders, constitutional officers, legislative service agencies, and many state agencies.  Order yours today by calling 608.241.9789.






Debt Costs Cut Available Transportation Revenues

Transportation Revenues: Gross and Net of Debt Service

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