News & Updates | 4th Quarter 2018

By Jeffrey Schmidt

President’s message

When the merger between the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) and Public Policy Forum (PPF) became official at the stroke of midnight last December 31, I must admit that I felt both a great deal of excitement and a healthy amount of trepidation. Could we continue WISTAX’s prolific analysis of state and local government finances while also maintaining PPF’s ability to effectively probe Greater Milwaukee’s most pressing policy challenges?…continue reading

Viewpoint Luncheon explored private sector role in addressing infrastructure challenges

Our Viewpoint Luncheon on December 10 drew more than 200 people to learn more about our infrastructure research series, and hear a panel of experts discuss the role the private sector may play in addressing local government infrastructure challenges. Check out our event recap that includes WisconsinEye’s video of the entire event as well as photos and media coverage. Many thanks to our very generous host and sponsor–Potawatomi Hotel & Casino–for helping to make this event a success!

Eviction prevention coalition launching second phase

From June to November, we facilitated a group of stakeholder organizations working to address Milwaukee’s high eviction rate. Our work culminated in No Place Like Home, a report that presents several strategies the group intends to pursue that could reduce future evictions. We presented the initial plan at an event organized by CommonBond Communities and at a meeting of the City of Milwaukee’s Community and Economic Development Committee. The work of the stakeholders’ group will continue in 2019 and will be focused on refining the plan, setting priorities, estimating costs, and moving toward implementation.

Top 5 Forum research findings of 2018

Reflecting on a year’s worth of policy briefs, reports, and digital research products, we’ve selected our top five research findings of 2018. Take a look!

  1. Linking property tax limits to new construction has substantially curbed revenue growth for most Wisconsin municipalities.
  2. Wisconsin is unique among the 50 states in its policies toward sealing criminal records.
  3. MPS realizes some financial advantage from authorizing charter schools.
  4. For the first time in state history, total property values in Madison and in Dane County have topped those in the city and county of Milwaukee.
  5. The Milwaukee County Parks Department’s infrastructure repair backlog appears insurmountable.

Coming soon… new research!

Hispanic workforce: The Hispanic population in the Milwaukee metro area has more than tripled since 1990, with Hispanic students comprising more than one-quarter of students in Milwaukee Public Schools. This research–commissioned by Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee–seeks to determine whether Hispanic high school graduates are pursuing higher education locally, what majors they are choosing, and whether their career paths and college majors align with projected workforce needs.

State-local relationship: More than any other state in the Midwest, Wisconsin relies on the property tax to fund municipal services such as police and fire departments, street repairs, libraries, and parks. Our latest research on this topic compares municipal funding sources in the state to other models around the country and lays out potential alternatives for Wisconsin. The research builds on our award-winning 2017 study, On the Money? The City of Milwaukee’s Uncommon Revenue Structure and How it Compares to Peer Cities.

State budget: Governor-elect Tony Evers (D) will propose his first two-year budget in February, setting up potential changes in state policy as well as challenges from the Republican-held legislature. We will provide in-depth analysis of the next state budget, looking at the implications for taxpayers, local governments, and state services. Our objective series of reports also will explore the potential impacts for the state, schools, municipalities, and counties if leaders from both parties are unable to reach compromises and approve a new budget.

Public school report: The annual school reports previously published by PPF and WISTAX will undergo changes this year to become one interactive online dashboard. The new format will allow users to view trend data for each school district in Wisconsin and to compare districts with their peers on measures related to enrollment and demographics, finances, and performance.

Upcoming Forum event

2019 Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 24, 2019 | 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Wisconsin Club | Milwaukee, WI

We’re planning an exciting evening for our 2019 annual meeting! We’ll have a provocative policy-related program (details to be announced soon!), preview 2019 research projects, and formally swear in our officers and directors.

We’re hiring!

We’re hiring two part-time positions in our Madison office. Are you interested or do you know anyone who would be a good fit as a researcher or development associate? Position descriptions and application instructions are on our employment page.