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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Dec, 2013
Earlier this year, with a grant from the Spirit of Milwaukee, the Public Policy Forum launched a comprehensive effort to re-examine the issue of public funding for the region’s arts, cultural, and entertainment assets. The Forum is not a newcomer to...
Oct, 2013
On its surface, the 2014 Milwaukee County recommended budget is the latest and most definitive testimony of the remarkable turnaround in the county’s financial picture. Unlike previous years, the list of controversial budget cuts is relatively short...
Oct, 2013
If it was not clear in previous budgets, the importance of the decision to build a sizable pension reserve fund in the aftermath of the economic recession shines through in the City of Milwaukee’s 2014 proposed budget.  Recognizing the...
Sep, 2013
A combination of rising fixed costs and declining state aids – combined with an inability to fully apply the provisions of Wisconsin Act 10 to police and fire personnel – has prompted several municipal leaders in Milwaukee County to explore the...
Jun, 2013
This report is an annual Public Policy Forum publication that analyzes property values and property taxes within the seven-county southeast Wisconsin region. The report’s primary objective is to measure trends in property values – one of the region’...
Jun, 2013
Pull-out poster providing Southeastern Wisconsin property value and tax increases in an easily readable format.