What's New

  • FOCUS: Values of existing homes still below 2008 in many parts of state

    With the 2008 recession, the combined market value of all property in the state fell for five consecutive years before starting a recovery in 2014. By 2016, commercial and manufacturing values were both above 2008 levels by 6.7% and 10.7%, respectively. However, residential values still lagged by 4.4%. In 61 of 72 counties, countywide values of existing homes were lower in 2016 than in 2008.

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  • FOCUS: Budget politics, 2017: "The world turned upside down"?

    Political parties in state government usually settle internal disagreements quietly and in private. That's why intraparty differences over the 2017-19 state budget are so unusual. The unprecedented but public feud between the governor and fellow Republicans in the assembly has spilled into the press and social media. So far, the main disagreements are over transportation finance and property taxes.

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  • FOCUS: Assembly GOP dives into transport finance, gubernatorial cold water

    Even before state budget work began, it was clear that transportation finance -"stagnant revenues and a heavy debt load - "would dominate debate. Setting aside the governor's request for project delays and $500 million in borrowing, the Assembly GOP proposed a sales tax-gas tax swap in an attempt to find a long-term, consumer-friendly solution. However, the governor quickly turned down the offer.

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  • FOCUS: Balloon squeezing: Transportation finance and the state budget

    Wisconsin's transportation finance woes are long-standing. If past is prologue, the status quo - rising debt costs and project delays - will continue. However, the governor (R) and some legislative leaders (R) have also expressed interest in tapping income and sales taxes, the majority of which now goes to schools and Medicaid, to fund transportation. This could create a new set of larger problems.

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  • Taxpayer: Inside Wisconsin Corrections

    Wisconsin’s prison system houses almost 23,000 inmates, a number that surged in the 1990s, then stabilized, and eventually declined in the past decade. Inmates are generally older than in past decades, serving time for more serious crimes, and more likely to ultimately be returned to prison under the “truth in sentencing” laws. These shifts all carry important budgetary and policy implications for state government.

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  • FOCUS: The 2016 CAFR: State controller sees red, while state officials see black

    After each fiscal year, the state controller, a CPA, issues a "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report," or CAFR. The state's CAFR must follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The state budget does not use GAAP. As a result, the 2016 CAFR reported a $1.72 billion general fund deficit, while a state budget recap for the same year showed a $331 million surplus.

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Wisconsin’s Many Forms of Property Tax Relief

In 2016, state government spent more than $9.8 billion, or 40% of state taxes and fees, on property tax relief. The spending was in the form of aid to local governments, property tax credits, and selected income tax credits. In addition, it imposed strict property tax limits on local governments. Despite the effort, Wisconsin’s property tax burden ranks 11th among the states.

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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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