What's New

  • FOCUS: Final property tax numbers for 2016

    Gross property taxes to be collected this year rose 2.3% to $10.6b. School taxes, the single largest share of the levy at almost 46%, increased 2.0%, as did counties (20% of the total). Municipalities accounted for 25% of total levies and rose 2.2%. After dropping last year due to a $400-million state“buy down” of their levies, technical colleges increased their taxes 2.4%.

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  • BLOG: Property taxes falling as share of income

    A look at the long-term trend of Wisconsin property taxes as a share of personal income.

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  • TAXPAYER: The Ups and Downs of State Fiscal Health

    Wisconsin’s official financial statements are unknown to most residents, but they contain information that can be used to measure state fiscal health over months, a year, or much longer. A review of these reports shows fiscal health eroding during 2002-09 and then improving. Nevertheless, despite recent gains, the Badger State ranked 37th among the states in 2013 in overall fiscal condition, based on an average of fiscal measures covering multiple time frames.

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  • FOCUS: “Scoop and toss”: State again uses financial move to push debt into future

    In the past two decades, governors have restructured state debt in a way that generates funds for the cash-strapped general fund in the short-term while increasing state borrowing costs in the long run. Since 2000, these debt maneuvers have occurred 16 times for a total of $1.66 billion. This May, the state decided to forgo retiring $101 million in debt in favor of issuing new bonds to be repaid by 2024 at a total cost of $103.3 million. Some in Madison have termed the practice “scoop and toss.”

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  • FOCUS: School districts exceeding state revenue limits by referendum, or . . .

    For more than 20 years, state law has imposed revenue limits on school districts that local voters could increase by referendum. Until 2010, passage was a 50-50 proposition, but approval rates have since increased, topping 80% this year. In a new development, a small but growing number of districts are using a state exception to exceed the “caps” without having to ask for voter consent.

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  • FOCUS: Could national politics affect state balance of power and 2017-19 budget?

    Republicans control both houses of the legislature with comfortable majorities. However, if the presidential race now in disarray alters customary turnout and party preference patterns, the result could have ripple effects “down-ballot.” And, if an unexpectedly large number of state lawmakers is swept aside, the balance of power and 2017 budget-writing environment in Madison could both shift.

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Has Legal Gambling Plateaued in Wisconsin?

Beginning in 1965, voters in Wisconsin have approved five constitutional amendments allowing certain forms of gambling in Wisconsin. Today, the state lottery and tribal gaming generate the most revenue. Since 2001, the state lottery has relieved, on average, about 2% of residential property tax levies. While amounts fluctuate, tribes pay the state about $50 million annually to operate casinos in the state.

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Available Soon: 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.






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