What's New

  • TAXPAYER: 2015-17 Budget Recapped

    Although the governor and legislature were of the same party, the 2015-17 state budget’s road to enactment was at times bumpy. The two branches were at odds over U.W. funding and control, K-12 school aids, as well as the future of transportation finance in Wisconsin. Among the budget’s most significant changes, it makes permanent both statewide school choice and a major technical college funding change. Among scores of nonfiscal items were changes to town incorporation and prevailing wage laws.

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  • TAXPAYER: A State Report Card

    The governor’s 1997 Lyall Commission recommended that “an annual report card on the state of the Wisconsin economy be issued, tracking progress in the growth of quality jobs, education, and training.” Since 1998, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has met that charge, tracking state performance in areas ranging from economics and finance to education and infrastructure.

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  • BLOG: Is Social Security's First Crisis Next Year?

    Next year at this time an event many politicians assure us is far in the future is expected to occur: One of the two funds comprising Social Security ― Disability Insurance (DI) ― will be depleted. This is no surprise, although the issue has gone largely unnoticed by national political leaders and mass media. In late July, Social Security’s six trustees warned: “The DI Trust Fund reserves become depleted in the fourth quarter of 2016, at which time continuing income to the DI Trust Fund would be sufficient to pay 81% of DI benefits.”

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  • FOCUS: New state fiscal report answers budget questions

    Every October, state government issues its Annual Fiscal Report for the fiscal year ending the prior June. The new AFR shows Wisconsin closed its 2015 books with a general fund surplus of $135.6 million. Compared to annual general fund spending of $15.5 billion, that is modest. However, compared to the $283.4 million deficit forecast last January, it is a noticeable improvement.

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  • FOCUS: A “real-world” look at business taxes in the states

    State-local taxes are often compared based on total collections per capita or relative to personal income. A better way to compare business taxes is to focus solely on the taxes firms might actually pay. Drawing on calculations from tax experts at KPMG reveals that the effective tax rates model firms face in Wisconsin can vary from 10.5% for an R&D facility to 26.9% for a warehouse center.

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  • FOCUS: First depletion of U.S. entitlement in 2016; others follow within 20 years

    Social Security and Medicare, the nation’s largest programs, claim 42% of federal expenditures. Due to demographic pressures and partisan stasis, the two programs’ three trust funds (OASI, DI, and HI) will be depleted within 20 years. Social Security’s small disability insurance fund (DI) faces depletion in 2016. Unless Congress acts, benefit payments would be cut almost 20%.

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New Census tax figures: Wisconsin tax rank lower than thought

The U.S. Census Bureau releases tax collection figures for states two years after the fact. New data for 2013 showed Wisconsin outside the top 10, while Minnesota ranked 8th and Illinois 9th. WISTAX analysis of the federal data found an error that overstated property taxes. As a result, Wisconsin taxes claim 10.9% of personal income, 15th highest. Census figures had the state at 11th.

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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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