What's New

  • Taxpayer: New Legislature, Same Issues?

    The 2016 elections yielded some surprises. Republicans gained a seat in each house and now hold majorities of 64-35 in the assembly and 20-13 in the senate. Many races featured little competition: In 41 of 115 seats up for election, one candidate was on the ballot; in another 21, major party candidates had only third party or no post-primary competition. Legislative focus in the first half of 2017 will be crafting the 2017-19 state budget.

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  • FOCUS: Raising the curtain on the state budget

    The 2017-19 state budget will be the main event of the new two-year legislative session, dominating lawmakers’ and the governor’s attention for months. The 1,000-plus-page bill is a behemoth that sets state spending and taxes, mandates local government actions, decides policy on scores of controversial issues, delivers on past campaign promises, and lays the groundwork for the next election.

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  • COLUMN: Lifting the Veil on Wisconsin’s State Budget Process

    When Gov. Scott Walker (R) unveils his 2017-19 state budget next week, it will be the highlight of the two-year legislative session, dominating the attention of lawmakers, the public, and the press until summer or even beyond. What makes the budget so important? And how do citizens understand how it’s developed and proceeds through the Capitol?

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  • FOCUS: Feeling forgotten, outstate voters show capacity to switch, teach lessons

    An unexpected electoral wave in the north and west led to a GOP presidential candidate winning the state for the first time in 32 years. Isolated and feeling ignored by a distant, central government, voters in these areas carried out their frustration on the Democratic candidate. Should concern for their rural roads and schools be neglected in Madison, will these same voters turn on state politicians, too?

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  • TAXPAYER: State Tax Growth Outpaces Local Increases

    Since 2011, state tax and fee collections have grown 13.5%, while local revenues are up 2.5%. Tax collections at both levels of government continue to decline as a share of personal income, due to a combination of state income tax cuts and state-imposed restrictions on local property taxes. State collections grew 2.4% in 2016, while local revenues increased 1.6%.

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  • FOCUS: More property tax news: State ‘freeze’ holds county increase to 2.2%

    Counties account for about one in five of the $10.8 billion (b) in gross property taxes levied for 2016-17. Their billings totaled $2.13 billion, or 2.2% more than last year. Levies increased more than five percent in nine counties and fell in three; 42 held increases to 2.5% or less. A quasi-freeze imposed by the state means that any tax hikes are due largely to taxing new construction.

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Big Changes Happen Slowly

Total state-local taxes in Wisconsin claimed 10.8% of income in 2014, the lowest percentage since 1962. but 16th highest among the 50 states. The Badger State ranked 21st on total spending. About two-thirds of public sector spending here is either for education, public welfare or roads. During 1993-2014, public welfare spending increased 224%, almost double the rate of all other programs.

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Order Now: 2017-18 Legislative Directory is at the printer

The 36th edition of our biennial, 24-page Wisconsin Legislative and Congressional Directory is at the printer. In addition to legislative contact information, the directory contains committee chairs, individual maps of the 33 senate districts and with their associated assembly districts, as well as a state map of the eight U.S. congressional districts. The directory includes the name, address, party affiliation, telephone number, and election results for each legislator, and lists legislative leaders, constitutional officers, legislative service agencies, and many state agencies.  Order yours today by calling 608.241.9789.






Debt Costs Cut Available Transportation Revenues

Transportation Revenues: Gross and Net of Debt Service

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