What's New

  • TAXPAYER: TIF - The Municipal Development Tool

    Since 1982, local governments in Wisconsin have used more than $6.2 billion of property taxes on tax incremental finance (TIF) projects, including $3.5 billion over the past 10 years. The state currently has 1,212 tax incremental finance districts, with nearly two-thirds located in municipalities with fewer than 15,000 residents. Despite its widespread use, most state residents know little about TIF.

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  • FOCUS: Transportation Financing (II): Debt exacerbates state challenge

    For years, Wisconsin has had a problem matching transportation “wants” with available revenues. Gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, the main sources of transportation fund support, are not growing. Meanwhile, past and current bonding for highways has led to a five-fold increase in associated debt service. These debt costs are putting further pressure on both the transportation and general funds.

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  • FOCUS: Transportation financing (I): The local impact

    State and local road funding will be central to the 2017-19 state budget debate. Stagnant state aid funding, state-mandated local property tax limits, and local street maintenance needs are prompting some counties and municipalities to consider local vehicle registration fees to fill their revenue shortfalls.

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  • TAXPAYER: County Government in Wisconsin

    Sometimes referred to as Wisconsin’s “invisible governments,” counties are little understood and often overlooked. Yet counties, which predate Wisconsin statehood, provide cradle-to-grave services that state government would otherwise have to provide through its own agencies. The county-state relationship is thus marked by tensions between their status as independent bodies and as arms of the state.

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  • TAXPAYER: Wisconsin's Migration Challenge

    IRS figures show Wisconsinites move to other states at lower rates than residents of all but three states. However, because Wisconsin lags in attracting people, it is a net loser in migration. Weather, relatively low wages, and, in some cases taxes all play a role. The state needs to reverse this trend: Over the next 20 years, it must attract as many as 300,000 people just to maintain its current workforce.

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  • FOCUS: Raise the sales tax - or give it a holiday?

    Both the governor and republican legislators are talking about including a sales tax holiday in the next budget. In January 2014, we took a look at the cases for and against these holidays, and some of the research on their impacts.

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Getting to the Heart of School Finance

School districts in Wisconsin are funded largely with a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The mix of these two revenue sources depends on district property wealth and student characteristics. School property taxes are indirectly controlled by the state through the revenue limit law. In 2015, 70% of school spending was for employee salaries and benefits.

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Available Now: MunicipalFacts16. Order Yours Today!

MunicipalFacts is the state's only comprehensive factbook for Wisconsin's 244 largest cities and villages.  This 116 page, 9x12 professionally bound book contains information on spending (by category), debt, property taxes, and shared revenues, among others.  It is a must-have for municipal officials, the press, and citizens interested in how their community compares to others.  The 2016 book will be going to press soon, so order yours today by calling 608.241.9789.






New Construction Rebounding

Net new construction as % of total property values highest since pre-recession

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