COVID-19 Related Research

As the fight against COVID-19 changes our daily lives, the Wisconsin Policy Forum maintains its commitment to providing the highest level of nonpartisan public policy research on state and local issues in Wisconsin. We have shifted our research agenda to produce several crisis-related reports.

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The Wisconsin Policy Forum is a nonpartisan, independent statewide policy research organization with offices in Milwaukee and Madison. Our mission is to provide informed, nonpartisan analysis of critical policy issues affecting local governments, school districts, and the state of Wisconsin. Our research and facilitation activities encourage elected officials and community leaders to find effective, data-driven solutions to pressing policy challenges, and promote productive discussion among the public and private sectors.

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Featured Research



2021 Salute to Local Government

11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Italian Community Center
631 E Chicago St, Milwaukee, WI 53202
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Featured Research

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, after noting the startling nature of a recommended county budget that avoided program and staffing cuts in the midst of a global pandemic, we also warned that “any celebration about the relatively tranquil nature of the 2021 budget should be somewhat muted.”

The rationale for our warning was our concern that several of the positive factors that relieved county leaders from difficult budget choices in 2021 were unlikely to be available in subsequent years. More specifically, we did not foresee that tens of millions of federal pandemic relief dollars would again come the county’s way, and we were skeptical that the county’s ability to keep a lid on health care and pension costs and withdraw healthy amounts from reserves would last much longer.

It turns out those doubts were misplaced – at least for the time being. For the second consecutive year, the 2022 recommended budget avoids significant service cuts, fee increases, and reductions to the county workforce. Instead, in even more startling fashion than...
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2021 Salute to Local Government Winners

We are pleased to announce our 2021 Salute to Local Government award winners!Read More

Interactive Data

City of Milwaukee Proposed ARPA Spending Plan

The city of Milwaukee will receive a $394.2 million award from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that can be used to replace lost revenues, address negative impacts of the pandemic, provide premium pay to essential workers, and upgrade water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. The mayor’s three-year spending proposalRead More

In The News

UWL study shows Coulee Region tourism fared better than many other communities during pandemic

WKBT - La CrosseRead More