Focus

Focus #23

2018

School Referenda Reach New Heights

Voters this month approved school referenda at rates not seen previously, making 2018 the highest year on record with more than $2 billion in additional school spending passed, according to Department of Public Instruction data. Here we update readers on...Read More
Focus #22

2018

Under the Gun on Conservation Funding

A decline in hunting – and the license fees it generates – is threatening key conservation funding in Wisconsin. Total deer licenses dropped 5.8% between 1999 and 2017 and the decline is projected to continue. Interest in the natural world...Read More
Focus #21

2018

Challenge and Change Ahead for the State Budget

With the campaign over, the next governor faces the challenge of fulfilling campaign promises while balancing the 2019-21 budget. It may not be easy. Over the next two years, the state would need more than $2 billion in additional revenue...Read More
Focus #20

2018

Wisconsin’s Prison Population on the Rise

New figures from the state Department of Corrections show Wisconsin’s adult prison population will reach a record 25,000 inmates by 2021. While inmate numbers aren’t growing as fast as during the massive expansion of the 1990s, recent increases could require...Read More
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 most...Read 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% or...Read 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 the...Read More