What's New

  • FOCUS: New tax rank information brings surprises from south, west

    New tax figures from the US Census released over the holidays brought rare news. Both Illinois (now, 9th) and Minnesota (10th) moved past Wisconsin (12th) in state-local tax burden relative to personal income. Illinois, which in modern memory has never cracked the top ten, jumped from 26th place in 2009; Minnesota ranked 14th that year. Wisconsin placed 13th in 2011 and 9th in 2010.

    Continue Reading
  • BLOG: Minding the GAAP: National Comparisons

    Wisconsin’s general fund deficit reported in its annual financial statement declined for the third consecutive year and is now less than half as large as in 2011. However, when compared to other states, our fiscal position is not quite as rosy. That is the leading news that came from the December release of Wisconsin’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

    Continue Reading
  • FOCUS: Did the state "buy down" this year's property tax levy?

    The big news on the property tax front this year was the legislature’s attempt to “buy down” levies by appropriating $406 million in additional aid for technical colleges. That resulted in “tech college” levies falling 48.9% statewide. At the same time, however, school (1.3%) and county (1.8%) taxes rose. Assuming municipal levies grew 2.5%, WISTAX estimates a 2% decline in total levies.

    Continue Reading
  • TAXPAYER: Total Taxes in Wisconsin, 2014

    Total state and local taxes were nearly unchanged in 2014, rising 0.2% to $27.6 billion. State tax collections declined 0.6% due largely to individual income tax cuts, while local taxes rose 1.6%. State-imposed limits on property taxes limited local tax growth. However, an 8.0% increase in federal tax collections pushed up the total tax burden from 30.4% to 31.3% of personal income.

    Continue Reading
  • BLOG: New Census Numbers -- Illinois Tax Rank Tops Upper Midwest

    In an unprecedented development, Illinois has leapfrogged every state in the upper Midwest to become the region’s most taxed state, according to federal figures for 2012 released today. The newly available U.S. Census data show Illinois’ state-local taxes climbing to 11.7% of personal income, ninth highest in the nation and well above the U.S. average (10.5%). In 2009, taxes took only 10.0% of Illinois income when the state ranked 26th. By comparison, Wisconsin’s state-local tax load......

    Continue Reading
  • TAXPAYER: State Budget Process

    Wisconsin’s state budget is as important as it is extensive, covering taxes, spending, and a range of issues that touch on nearly every aspect of public life in Wisconsin. Voters do well to follow the state budget and influence it where they can. However, doing so requires a basic understanding of the state budget process. This report provides an explanation of the process by which the budget is developed, revised, and enacted.

    Continue Reading

Here Comes the 2015-16 Legislature

The 2014 elections were largely a continuation of the status quo. Republicans continue to control both houses of the legislature: 63-36 in the assembly and, pending a special election, 18-14 in the senate. Legislative turnover continued to be high, particularly in the state assembly. Twenty-six representatives are new, and combined with turnover from the last three elections, 71 of 99 assembly members have served four or fewer years. This relative inexperience will soon be tested as lawmakers begin work on the 2015-17 state budget.

Continue Reading

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.

Learn More