Press Releases

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

Census Tax and Spend Figures Show Seeming Contradictions

Tax Burden Drops but Spending Up

December 6, 2011

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MADISON—Wisconsin’s 2009 state-local tax collections dropped, yet its 50-state rank rose from 11th to ninth. Expenditures in virtually all spending categories stagnated or dropped, but Badger State spending claimed a higher share of income and moved up four places in state spending ranks. These seemingly contradictory findings are at the heart of two new reports from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) summarizing recently released census tax and spending figures. WISTAX is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to citizen education and policy research.

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

As the U.S. Goes, So Goes Wisconsin

Low Firm Creation, Wages Among Challenges Facing the State

December 2, 2011

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MADISON—The tepid economic recovery has made it difficult for Wisconsin to create jobs at a rate sufficient to reduce unemployment. And that has led to political sniping over unreliable month-to-month job statistics. “What policymakers should do instead,” said Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) President Todd Berry, “is understand some basic facts about the state economy that can foster productive discussions about economic growth.” That is the aim of a new WISTAX report, “Jobs: The Long Road to Recovery.” The report examines job creation and loss both during the 2007-09 recession and subsequent recovery, as well as occupational and educational needs for the next several years. WISTAX is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to citizen education and policy research.
 

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

New Fed Figures Push Wisconsin Tax Burden Back Into Top 10

But Recession Trims State-Local Tax Burden Relative to Income

October 31, 2011

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MADISON— U.S. Census figures released Monday show that state-local taxes in Wisconsin claimed 11.2% of personal income in 2009, ninth highest among the states, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) reported today. During the prior year, Wisconsin taxes claimed 11.7% of income but the state ranked 11th. The 2009 decline in tax burden reflects a temporary increase in federal stimulus funds used to replace state tax dollars, as well as the 2007-09 recession. WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to citizen education.

Wisconsin’s tax burden (11.2% of income) was almost 10% above the U.S. average (10.2% of income). Most of the difference was due to individual income and property taxes. Both were more than 25% above the national norm in 2009; the property tax ranked ninth and the income tax, 11th.

“Because Wisconsin has historically relied less on sales taxes and federal aid than other states, individual income and property taxes are used to a greater extent than in most states,” WISTAX President Todd A. Berry explained. Sales taxes ranked 34th (about 13% below the U.S. average) and corporate income taxes ranked 23rd (17.3% below).

Another way to compare state revenues is to add to taxes various user fees and charges, such as those for higher education, public hospitals, and local sewers. In 2009, Wisconsin taxes and fees combined claimed 14.4% of personal income (11th highest nationally) vs. 14.9% (15th highest) during the prior year. While some cite this figure as the state’s “tax rank,” it is more accurate to call it taxes-plus-fees. WISTAX notes that, while fees are discretionary, taxes are mandatory.

Rather than use income, some tax researchers compare state taxes based on population. Per capita, state-local taxes here ranked 16th, while taxes and fees combined ranked 17th. Because Wisconsin’s personal income per capita is below average, its revenue rankings are higher relative to income than relative to population.

In addition to revenues, the U.S. Census also compares state-local spending. In 2009, direct general expenditures here claimed 20.9% of personal income, 21st highest nationally. In 2008, these expenditures accounted for 20.5% of income and ranked 25th. WISTAX will provide more detail on the new Census information in forthcoming issues of its biweekly Focus newsletter.

A free copy of these newsletters will be available by visiting www.wistax.org; e-mailing wistax@wistax.org; calling 608.241.9789; or writing WISTAX at 401 N. Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033.
[Note: The Census Bureau defines taxes to include several fees, e.g., vehicle registration, drivers’ licenses, and several sportsmen’s fees.] o
 

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

Open Enrollment Changing the Face of Public Schools

WISTAX’s SchoolFacts11 Provides Comprehensive School Information

October 24, 2011

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MADISON—In 2010-11, a record number of students took advantage of Wisconsin’s open enrollment program to attend school elsewhere than in their own district. The 34,498 participants was 8.1% higher than in 2010 and nearly five times higher than in 2001. Open enrollment numbers varied widely, with 13 districts experiencing net outflows of more than 10% of their student populations and 34 with net inflows of similar magnitude. These findings are detailed in SchoolFacts11, the annual reference book from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) that provides, for every school district in the state, a wide range of information on enrollment, finance, staffing, and test scores.

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

State Budget Continues Spending Shift From Education to Medicaid

Closes 15-Year Structural Deficit, But Leaves Little Fiscal Breathing Room

October 12, 2011

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The recently enacted 2011-13 state budget continues a long-term shift of state spending priorities from education to human services, particularly Medicaid. The share of 2011-13 state general fund spending going to K-12 schools and the UW System combined is 40.8%, down from 45.3% in 2009-11. In contrast, Medicaid’s spending share will rise from 8.4% to 13.6%.

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