What's New

  • FORUM: Welcome to the Wisconsin Policy Forum

    The merger of Wisconsin’s two oldest and most-respected nonpartisan policy research groups creates a new organization with broader research capabilities and an enhanced communications platform. The mission, however, remains the same: to provide expert, nonpartisan policy analysis that informs Wisconsin citizens and helps decisionmakers tackle their policy challenges.

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  • BLOG: How Wisconsin Government and Politics Have Changed-And What To Do About It

    Retired WISTAX President Todd Berry offers his views of what ails Wisconsin state government.

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  • FOCUS: Property taxes 2017-18 (II): County levies, state totals projected

    WISTAX estimates that total statewide property taxes will rise about 1.8% to almost $11 billion (b). After subtracting state property tax credits from this total, net levies are expected to grow 1.1% to $9.9b. Counties, which account for one-fifth of all property taxes, are levying $2.2b this year, 3.0% more than last year. Municipal levies are projected to increase 3.5%.

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  • Focus: Property taxes 2017-18 (I): K-12 schools and technical colleges

    Local education accounts for almost half of property taxes levied. December 2017 tax bills payable in 2018 show that the statewide levy for schools is increasing 1.8% to $4.95 billion. The technical college tax is much smaller ($446.6 million), but growing somewhat faster (3.0%). One expensive decision awaiting state officials in 2019 will be whether to end the “tech college” levy.

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  • FOCUS: New budget change: State income, sales taxes go to support lottery

    A little-noticed 2017-19 state budget item provides $48 million in general fund taxes to pay part of the state lottery’s expenses. Reducing lottery costs boosts the funds it has available for property tax relief to a 20-year high. The election-year attraction of the idea is easy to understand. However, as with past interfund transfers of cash, e.g., transportation to general fund, might legal issues arise?

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  • TAXPAYER: A Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

    Wisconsin’s tax burden declined in 2017 from 10.8% to 10.7% of personal income. The drop came mainly from two events unknown to most residents: decreased collections for unemployment insurance taxes paid by employers and the end of the 0.5% Brown County sales tax to fund Lambeau Field construction. Other taxes changed little relative to income. In the past 5 years, state taxes continued to grow faster than local ones.

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Investigating Residential Property Taxes

Wisconsin’s overall property tax burden has declined from 6.9% of total personal income in 1972 to 3.6% of income in 2017. During that same period, residential property taxes changed less, falling from 2.9% to 2.5% of income. Residential property taxes here are high compared to other states; this report explains why.

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Order now! The NEW Framework of Your Wisconsin Government - 19th Edition!

The Framework of Your Wisconsin Government is the only textbook that specifically teaches Wisconsin state and local government. Now in its 19th edition, the Framework has been the go-to text for more than 60 years for high school and college teachers, civic groups, and anyone who wants to learn more about how state and local government operate.
In 11 easy-to-read chapters with full-color photos and graphics, the Framework covers topics including:

  • Wisconsin history, population and economy;
  • State constitution, legislative, executive and judicial branches;
  • State budget and taxes;
  • Counties, cities, villages, and towns; their organization, duties, and funding sources;
  • K-12 schools and higher education institution;
  • Property taxes and other local taxes; and,
  • NEW in 2017: Native American Tribes and state-tribal relations.

Order your copy today!

State Debt Growth Slowing

State Debt and Annual Pct. Change

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