What's New

  • Rare survey: City-village officials speak out on finances, jobs, and the future

    With 600 cities and villages in Wisconsin, little was known about the challenges they collectively face until WISTAX surveyed them in 2016 and again in 2017. With state government freezing local aids, at best, and imposing limits on property tax growth, officials were asked to assess their financial health, local employment prospects, and the future challenges they face.

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  • FOCUS: Parting of the ways: Diverging growth in county property values

    Preliminary 2017 market values for Wisconsin property are out from the state. A decade after the last recession, statewide "equalized values" have finally surpassed their 2008 peak. However, the recovery is spotty: In 29 counties - mostly in the southeast, central Wisconsin, and the north - total values remain below 2008 levels. A similar pattern holds for residential property totals.

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  • FOCUS: While Washington slept: Experts see coming crises in U.S. entitlements, debt

    Attention focused on the short-term fate of "Obamacare," while reports on the troubled future of larger retirement and health programs and the federal budget went unnoticed. Social Security and Medicare trust funds will be depleted and benefit cuts would begin by 2035. Also by then, federal debt will reach record highs, exceeding the size of the U.S. economy and raising the likelihood of fiscal crisis.

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  • BLOG: FoxConn Project Poses Unasked, Unanswered Questions for Local Officials

    Much has been written about state incentives to bring high-tech manufacturer FoxConn to Wisconsin. Little has been written about proposed local incentives. The local commitment will likely be significant, so what follows are a few questions that local officials may want to consider.

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  • FOCUS: A late state budget: Pending issues, past history, and national context

    In the last 40 years, almost all state budgets have cleared the legislature's budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) by now, yet the tax-and-spending plan for 2017-19 remains in JCF hands. Wisconsin is one of eight states without a budget as a new fiscal year began July 1. Other interstate fiscal comparisons show total state budget reserves are also on the low side, less than 36 other states.

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  • 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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New federal figures: School spending trends inform, surprise

For years, Wisconsin has spent more per pupil on K-12 schools than the U.S. Newly released Census figures for 2015 show that Wisconsin dipped below the national average for the first time in memory. But they also show that, when fringe benefits are removed from spending totals, U.S. and state spending have been on par for years. Once above-average benefits masked underlying trends.

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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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