In The News


2018 proposed budget shows structural imbalance has come to a head

In our 2018 budget brief, we find that the City of Milwaukee’s unsustainable revenue structure and rising pension costs cast huge shadows over the 2018 proposed budget. A report we published earlier this year, On the Money?, found that Milwaukee relies far more on State aids than other peer cities...Read More


VRF Dominates Milwaukee County Budget Debate for Second Straight Year

At this time last year, in the Forum’s review of the Milwaukee County Executive’s 2017 recommended budget, we marveled at how unique it was to see a single issue dominate the budget and its deliberations. This year, in our analysis of the 2018 recommended budget, we sheepishly admit we were...Read More


Is metro Milwaukee prepared for the new knowledge-based economy?

Our latest research finds that the four-county Milwaukee metropolitan area has made strides in increasing educational attainment levels and adding scientists, engineers, and technology workers to the regional talent pool. Yet, with regard to other indicators tied to innovation — including small business formation and venture capital funding — our...Read More


Building Infrastructure Challenges Highlight City, County Limits

The further the Forum gets into our examination of local government infrastructure challenges, the more we discover vulnerabilities in the different types of infrastructure owned by our largest local governments. In the first two reports of our infrastructure series, we found that Milwaukee County is facing a serious burden in...Read More


Region’s Property Tax Collections See Only Modest Growth

Of all the local government and school district policy issues researched by the Public Policy Forum, perhaps none generates more contradictory conclusions than our annual review of property taxes and values in the region. This year’s report — which we release this morning — offers a good case in point....Read More


Building a Resilient Community

“Resilient” is a word that is most often associated with individuals who have experienced trauma, or with materials (like nylon). But in the small village of Wind Point, it’s a word that is being used to catalyze collaborative action to shape a community. The “Resilient Communities” initiative is a new...Read More


Joining Milwaukee’s largest governments through shared services

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County all confront a common challenge. They are squeezed by both revenue and expenditure constraints — forces like stagnant state aids, limited tax-base growth, health care and pension costs, and growing technology and infrastructure needs. The burden of these fiscal...Read More


A “retrenchment” year for MPS

For more than a century, the Public Policy Forum has prided itself on impartial and objective budget analysis that explains the financial challenges facing local governments and school districts, but that calls them out when they violate fiscal best practices in their attempts to make ends meet. When it comes...Read More


Public health consolidation in Oak Creek and South Milwaukee could improve services without increasing costs

When the Forum is approached by local governments, school districts, and civic leaders to consider possibilities for service sharing and consolidation, we typically warn that such efforts should not be undertaken if the sole objective is to save substantial sums of money. Instead, the primary benefit may lie in the...Read More