What's New

  • FOCUS: New state report raises curtain on Wisconsin’s 2017-19 budget prospects

    Wisconsin’s budget process kicks off every two years in November when the state releases an initial revenue forecast and summarizes agency spending requests. The latest edition of the November report shows growth in tax collections slowed last year and this year, and will continue at modest annual rates of 2% to 3% into 2019. This year, state spending exceeds ongoing revenues by $226 million.

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  • TAXPAYER: TIF - The Municipal Development Tool

    Since 1982, local governments in Wisconsin have used more than $6.2 billion of property taxes on tax incremental finance (TIF) projects, including $3.5 billion over the past 10 years. The state currently has 1,212 tax incremental finance districts, with nearly two-thirds located in municipalities with fewer than 15,000 residents. Despite its widespread use, most state residents know little about TIF.

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  • FOCUS: Transportation Financing (II): Debt exacerbates state challenge

    For years, Wisconsin has had a problem matching transportation “wants” with available revenues. Gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, the main sources of transportation fund support, are not growing. Meanwhile, past and current bonding for highways has led to a five-fold increase in associated debt service. These debt costs are putting further pressure on both the transportation and general funds.

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  • FOCUS: Transportation financing (I): The local impact

    State and local road funding will be central to the 2017-19 state budget debate. Stagnant state aid funding, state-mandated local property tax limits, and local street maintenance needs are prompting some counties and municipalities to consider local vehicle registration fees to fill their revenue shortfalls.

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  • TAXPAYER: County Government in Wisconsin

    Sometimes referred to as Wisconsin’s “invisible governments,” counties are little understood and often overlooked. Yet counties, which predate Wisconsin statehood, provide cradle-to-grave services that state government would otherwise have to provide through its own agencies. The county-state relationship is thus marked by tensions between their status as independent bodies and as arms of the state.

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  • TAXPAYER: Wisconsin's Migration Challenge

    IRS figures show Wisconsinites move to other states at lower rates than residents of all but three states. However, because Wisconsin lags in attracting people, it is a net loser in migration. Weather, relatively low wages, and, in some cases taxes all play a role. The state needs to reverse this trend: Over the next 20 years, it must attract as many as 300,000 people just to maintain its current workforce.

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Getting to the Heart of School Finance

School districts in Wisconsin are funded largely with a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The mix of these two revenue sources depends on district property wealth and student characteristics. School property taxes are indirectly controlled by the state through the revenue limit law. In 2015, 70% of school spending was for employee salaries and benefits.

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Order Now: 2017-18 Legislative Directory is at the printer

The 36th edition of our biennial, 24-page Wisconsin Legislative and Congressional Directory is at the printer. 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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