Focus

Focus #19

2018

Rural Counties Face Psychiatrist Shortage

Fifty-five of 72 Wisconsin counties face a “significant shortage” of psychiatrists and 20 have no practicing psychiatrists at all. The dearth of psychiatrists in these areas, along with the high prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse in the state,Read More
Focus #18

2018

Paying the Rent

Affordable housing poses a challenge in both rural and urban counties throughout Wisconsin. Although the issue presents itself in different ways and at varying scales from county to county, low incomes—as opposed to high rental prices—appear to be the mostRead More
Focus #17

2018

A Building Recovery

For the first time since 2008, most counties in the state have reached a key threshold for new construction rates. In a sign of economic recovery, new state figures show a majority of counties experienced new construction of 1.25% orRead More
Focus #16

2018

Are “Dark Store” Property Tax Challenges on the Rise?

“Dark store” appeals are made by businesses – often retailers – seeking to lower their property tax assessments and overall tax bill. Our survey suggests they may be rising in Wisconsin. Local officials reported 79 such tax appeals in 2017,Read More
Focus #15

2018

A Tale of Two Cities (and Counties)

For generations, Milwaukee could boast of being Wisconsin’s biggest city and produce the numbers to back up its claim. Even today, the city counts more than twice the residents and economic output of Madison, the next largest city in theRead More
Focus #14

2018

Ruling Triggers Rise in State Sales Taxes, Potential Cut in Income Taxes

Until recently, whether an internet retailer collected state and local sales taxes depended in part on whether it had a physical presence in the state. A new decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed its previous ruling, allowing WisconsinRead More
Focus #13

2018

Wisconsin’s birth rate is falling, but why?

Wisconsin’s birth rate is at its lowest point in at least a generation. Annual births are at a near-low for the time period, and the fertility rate has declined as well over the past decade. Given the state’s recent historyRead More
Focus #12

2018

Municipal Street Quality: A Bumpier Ride?

Street quality in Wisconsin municipalities has declined modestly over the past seven years. From 2010 to 2017, the share of high quality roads has declined while the share of moderate-quality roads has increased, with the trend most pronounced in smallRead More
Focus #11

2018

How should local governments respond to declining transit ridership?

Bus ridership has decreased for most large transit systems in Wisconsin in recent years, following a national trend. So far, local governments have found ways to make up for lost fare revenue and avoid service reductions, though that may becomeRead More