Focus

Focus #12

2019

Both Budgets Backtrack on State Reserves

GOP lawmakers dialed back both the state spending – and tax increases – in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ budget, but left one aspect of the 2019-21 proposal largely the same: a drawdown of hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves in the state’s main fund. ...Read More
Focus #11

2019

Fees take on increased importance for local governments

With rising costs in areas like fringe benefits and infrastructure, stagnant state aids, and restrictions on property tax levies and other local taxes, municipalities and counties in Wisconsin are challenged in addressing their budget pressures. Our latest research finds, however, that they have increasingly turned to fees for services – also known as charges – to support their operations. ...Read More
Focus #10

2019

Wisconsin’s Brain Drain Problem

People who move away from Wisconsin tend to be more highly educated than those who stay in the state or those who move here from elsewhere. Recent policy proposals from both Democrats and Republicans have sought to retain college graduates,...Read More
Focus #9

2019

Is the Unemployment Fund Job Ready?

The state’s once indebted unemployment fund has made a significant recovery in recent years, rising from a negative balance of more than $1 billion at the end of 2010 to a positive one of more than $1.7 billion at the...Read More
Focus #8

2019

Reroute for Transit

The governor’s budget would increase state spending on public transit after years of flat funding. His bill would be helpful for Milwaukee County, which has struggled for years to maintain existing transit services and to replace aging buses. The proposals...Read More
Focus #7

2019

Voters Approve More School Spending, But Some Referenda Fail

In recent years, Wisconsin voters have approved school district spending referenda in record numbers. Results for this spring’s vote still show support for many of these proposals—particularly for operating expenses—but some big-ticket items were rejected. The outcome of this year’s...Read More
Focus #6

2019

Another Alarming Achievement Gap

Measures of academic achievement for English Learners (ELs) in Wisconsin are far below those of their English-proficient peers. Only 17% of ELs in third grade can read proficiently, while just 4% of EL eighth graders are proficient in math. What...Read More
Focus #5

2019

Gov. Evers’ Budget: A First Look

In his first budget bill, Gov. Tony Evers is seeking to increase expenditures out of the state’s main fund by $2.7 billion over two years, prioritizing spending on K-12 education, health care for the needy, prisons, and the University of...Read More
Focus #4

2019

Understanding the State Budget Process

The state budget is usually the most important piece of legislation passed in every legislative session, but it has a timetable and terminology that can be confusing. To help demystify the process, we offer the following overview and a glossary...Read More