What's New

  • FOCUS: State budget basics: A taxpayer’s crib sheet

    Wisconsin’s new 2015-17 budget spends $72.6 billion (b) from all sources, $32.9b from state general fund (GPR) revenues. It increases GPR spending 0.3% this year and 5.0% in 2017. Spending exceeds revenue by $30 million in 2017, but the budget remains balanced due to a tax-credit accounting trick. From 2011 through 2017, GPR expenditures will rise 20.1% from $13.6b to $16.4b.

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  • FOCUS: The new 2015-17 budget: Few tax changes, more tax collectors

    The 2015-17 budget is now law. With attention focused on gubernatorial proposals to reduce education funding and increase transportation bonding, the budget’s few tax changes were overlooked. The main source of new tax revenue ($113.5 million)�"and the main reason the budget is in the black�"comes from the governor adding 113 employees to boost business tax audits and debt collection.

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  • TAXPAYER: How Do Towns Measure Up?

    The town meeting, where voters set the property tax levy, decide compensation for town offices, and adopt plans for the election of the town board, is one of the few remaining examples of direct democracy in the U.S. As a result, town finances often differ from those of cities and villages. Towns typically spend and borrow less per resident than other municipalities and draw their revenues from a smaller pool of resources.

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  • FOCUS: Always on the state budget stage: The struggle to control property taxes

    While other issues dominated the state’s 2015-17 budget drama, concern over local property taxes always lurked in the wings. New, final figures from the state show the 2014-15 net levy was $9.49 billion, a 2.3% drop from 2013-14. As a share of state personal income, this year’s levy was 3.6%, the lowest percentage since 1946. State-mandated levy and revenue controls were the main cause.

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  • TAXPAYER: States Race for Federal Money

    In 2013, federal spending in Wisconsin was slightly more than the amount state residents and business paid in federal taxes. However, on a per capita basis, federal spending here trailed the U.S. average by nearly 17%: The Badger State ranked 47th among the 50 states. Social Security and Medicare payments to the elderly are the largest component of federal spending. However, lack of federal aid to state and local governments here is one of the reasons Wisconsin’s total taxes were 12th highest in 2012.

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  • FOCUS: Transportation finance (II): On revenues, politics, and economic impact

    One of the lead obstacles to passing a 2015-17 state budget on time is transportation finance. The options are stark, and all are unpleasant: high levels of borrowing with unsustainable levels of debt service, politically unpalatable increases in stagnant-to-declining gas taxes or vehicle fees, or delaying road reconstruction that could have long-term economic impacts.

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Focus newsletter: State property values continue slow climb back from recession lows

The market value of Wisconsin property increased 2.4% this year to $490.7 billion. This was the second year of growth after five years of decline. Commercial and manufacturing values outperformed residential; farm and forest lands were weaker. Regionally, the west and northwest, along with the Madison area, outpaced statewide appreciation, while much of the lakeshore east was soft.

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Now Available: The WISTAX 2015-16 Legislative & Congressional Directory. Get Yours Today!

The all-new 2015-16 Legislative and Congressional Directory includes names, district maps, office phone numbers, home addresses and most recent election results for all 132 members of the Wisconsin legislature. It  also includes the names of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, contact information and maps of their districts.


Every citizen's guide to the state budget process: The Framework of Your Wisconsin Government handbook

The best guide to Wisconsin state, county, city, village, town and school governments and budgets.

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