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  • FOCUS: Could national politics affect state balance of power and 2017-19 budget?

    Republicans control both houses of the legislature with comfortable majorities. However, if the presidential race now in disarray alters customary turnout and party preference patterns, the result could have ripple effects “down-ballot.” And, if an unexpectedly large number of state lawmakers is swept aside, the balance of power and 2017 budget-writing environment in Madison could both shift.

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  • BLOG: Federal Income Tax Facts

    With campaign season in full swing and candidates releasing income tax information, it is useful to have federal tax data to provide context.

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  • FOCUS: State income tax story: Lessons about rates, wants, and inflation

    Wisconsin created the first state income tax in 1911. After 50 years, collections topped $150 million; today, they exceed $7 billion. Collections surged during the 1960-2000 period. Revenue wants grew, marginal tax rates increased, first at high-income levels, then at all levels. And aggressive inflation with “bracket creep” meant the highest tax rates applied to filers at lower and lower income levels.

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  • FOCUS: “Perpetuation of our Political Institutions” - A. Lincoln, 1838

    To promote active, informed citizenship, we occasionally reprint important historical documents. In January 1838, Abraham Lincoln, then just 28, addressed the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, IL. Aware that pro-slavery mobs nearby had murdered a freedman and an abolitionist printer, his topic was “The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions.” Excerpts follow; full text at www.wistax.org.

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  • TAXPAYER: In Their Own Words: Wisconsin Supreme Court Candidates

    On Tuesday April 5th, voters will choose a justice to serve on the state Supreme Court for the next 10 years. Justice Rebecca Bradley and Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg were the two top vote-getters in the February primary. Here, unedited, each candidate provides information on educational background, professional experience, awards, and professional memberships. Candidates also were asked to submit letters to the voters explaining why they should be elected and to identify one U.S. Supreme Court Justice they most respect.

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  • FOCUS: On the Sockeye surge, pander bears, and the federal income tax

    The federal income tax had 148.7 million filers and generated almost $1.4 trillion in revenue during the last tax season. The bulk of the filers (62.3%) had incomes under $50,000, while almost half (48.4%) of the income was reported by those in the $50,000-to-$200,000 category. However, 51.6% of the taxes were paid by 2.7% of filers with incomes over $250,000.

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One Hundred Years and Counting: Wisconsin’s Income Tax: History, Process, and Filers

Wisconsin became the first state to tax income in 1911. Now, the income tax generates $7.3 billion annually, or about half of state general fund revenue. In 2014, two-thirds of filers had incomes under $50,000 and paid 9.4% of taxes. A majority of income (52.2%) and taxes (56.7%) can be attributed to the 31% of filers in the $50,000-to-$200,000 income range. Those with incomes over $200,000 filed 2.5% of returns but paid more than one-third (33.9%) of taxes. Across all income groups, the average effective income tax rate was 4.2%.

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Now Available: SchoolFacts15. Get Yours Today!

SchoolFacts is Wisconsin’s most trusted, one-stop source of public school district information. This edition marks 20 years of providing reliable, factual information on topics ranging from district demography and finances to staffing and test scores. The book features 2013-14 actual and 2014-15 budgeted revenue and expenditure figures. Also includes information on staff sizes and ratios, property values, fund balances, student demography, and district characteristics.


A State Report Card

How are Wisconsin's economy, schools, and public sector doing?

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