Press Releases

Dale J. Knapp or Todd A. Berry
608-241-9789
wistax@wistax.org

State, Local Government Spending Growth in Wisconsin Differed During Recession

WISTAX Analyzes New Census Figures for 2011

August 22, 2013

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MADISON—Governments in Wisconsin responded to the 2007-09 recession differently than in other states, and the difference within the state between state and local governments was even greater. That is a key finding from a Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) analysis of fiscal 2011 public expenditure figures released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau. WISTAX is an 81-year-old nonpartisan organization dedicated to policy research and citizen education.

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Dale J. Knapp or Todd A. Berry
608-241-9789
wistax@wistax.org

2013 Property Taxes Grow 0.8%

State-Imposed Limits the Main Cause

August 19, 2013

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MADISON—With tighter property tax limits in place for the second consecutive year, total property tax levies in Wisconsin rose 0.8% to $10.47 billion in 2012-13 (2013). Combined with last year’s 0.2% increase, this was the first time since at least 1946 that levies rose less than 1% in consecutive years, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). In its latest report, "2013 Property Taxes in Review," WISTAX also highlights changes in municipal levies using recently-released figures from the state Department of Revenue. WISTAX is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to public policy research and citizen education.

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Todd A. Berry
608-241-9789
wistax@wistax.org

New Fed Figures for 2011 Show Wisconsin Taxes 10th Highest Nationally

Taxes as Percent of Income Rise to 11.8%, Rank Falls from Ninth

July 24, 2013

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MADISON—Wisconsin’s state-local tax burden rose from 11.7% to 11.8% of income but its rank fell from 9th to 10th, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Fiscal year 2011 were released today and analyzed by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to citizen education.
In addition to Wisconsin, state-local taxes relative to income rose in 36 other states. Nationally, that percentage rose from 10.7% to 10.9%. Neighboring Illinois saw its tax burden jump from 10.3% (27th) to 11.0% (16th) of income. Minnesota’s taxes climbed from 11.3% (14th) to 11.9% (8th) of income. Minnesota’s jump in rank explains Wisconsin’s drop from 9th to 10th.
“One interesting phenomenon is the increasing similarity of states in the upper midwest,” said WISTAX President Todd A. Berry. “In 2011, ranks for Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa were bunched between 8th and 17th.”
Another way to compare state-local revenues is to add to taxes various user fees and charges, such as those for higher education, public hospitals, and local sewers. In 2011, Wisconsin taxes and fees combined claimed 15.2% of personal income (14th highest nationally) vs. 15.0% (also 14th) during the prior year. WISTAX researchers note that, while fees are discretionary, taxes are mandatory.
In addition to income, some tax researchers compare state taxes based on population. Per capita, state-local taxes here ranked 17th, while taxes and fees combined ranked 18th. Because Wisconsin’s personal income per capita is below average, its tax rankings as a share of income are higher than per capita.
In addition to revenues, the U.S. Census also compares state-local spending. In 2011, direct general expenditures here claimed 22.1% of personal income, 20th highest nationally. In 2010, these expenditures accounted for 22.0% of income and ranked 23rd.
Tax and spending figures for all states are available on the WISTAX website (www.wistax.org/facts).
[Note: The Census Bureau defines taxes to include several fees, e.g., vehicle registration, drivers’ licenses, and several sportsmen’s fees.]

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Dale J. Knapp or Todd A. Berry
608-241-9789
wistax@wistax.org

WISTAX Examines State’s “Transportation Funding Dilemma”

Looming Choices: “New Taxes or Less Spending?”

July 3, 2013

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MADISON—New state-budget plans to borrow almost $1 billion—or about one in six dollars spent—to pay for state transportation programs over the next two years is one of several warning signs the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) cites in a just-released report, “Wisconsin’s Transportation Funding Dilemma.” Now celebrating its 81st year, WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research organization dedicated to educating the public and press about major state and local issues.

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Todd A. Berry
608-241-9789
wistax@wistax.org

Back to the Future?

The New State Budget

July 1, 2013

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MADISON—Save before you spend. Don’t spend more than you earn.

Financial planners often share this common-sense advice with clients. It is wise counsel for state officials, too.

Unfortunately, our political leaders have long had difficulty following it.

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