Public Policy Forum Research


The Public Policy Forum aims to build public understanding of local government finances through comprehensive fiscal assessments and annual budget briefs. These reports shed light on the state of governmental fiscal affairs and their associated impacts on valued public services. Recent publications include in-depth financial reviews of Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, and Milwaukee Public Schools. The Forum has complemented these projects with annual budget reviews for two of the area’s largest taxing bodies, Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee. In addition to these published reports, the Forum regularly works with local government agencies, providing more focused analyses in areas that can improve financial strength.

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Oct, 2014
For the most part, the issues confronting City of Milwaukee officials as they prepared the 2015 proposed budget were quite familiar. Faced with limited growth potential in their two major revenue streams (state shared revenue and the property tax),...
Sep, 2014
The Milwaukee County mental health system has seen several changes over the past few years, reflecting a move to a more recovery-oriented and community-focused system of care; this reflects the recommendation of a 2010 report produced by the Human...
Sep, 2014
This year’s report first analyzes two years of regional data on property values (2013 and 2014), with specific consideration of multi-year trends.  In previous years, we have examined property value data only from the prior year, as those...
Sep, 2014
Pull-out poster providing Southeastern Wisconsin property value and tax increases in an easily readable format.
Mar, 2014
This report – commissioned by the Milwaukee County Department of Administrative Services and the City of Wauwatosa – examines whether the time has come for the Milwaukee County water utility's infrastructure and customers to be transferred to the...
Mar, 2014
Pulling Back the Curtain, the Public Policy Forum’s December 2013 report assessing the needs of Milwaukee County’s major arts, cultural, recreational, and entertainment assets, left little doubt about the extensive nature of those needs. The report...