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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Jun, 2005
The federal government plays a significant role in our nation’s metropolitan economies. Annually, $1.1 trillion in federal funds flow into the 50 largest metro areas. Just under half of this money (46.8%) goes to individuals through direct payment...
May, 2005
Local elected officials in southeastern Wisconsin pride themselves on keeping their tax rates low and their tax rate increases even lower. Comparing the tax rate of one community to another is a favorite pastime among policymakers and home buyers...
Mar, 2005
The seven-county southeastern Wisconsin region grew its tax base at a rate faster than the state as a whole for the second year in a row. This year’s 8.9% growth is the highest since 1992, possibly signaling a turn around for the region’s fiscal...
Feb, 2005
The original intent of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) legislation was to provide assistance to redevelop blighted urban areas that could not be developed under normal market conditions. But since the time that Wisconsin’s first TIF district was...
Dec, 2004
Lessons from past policy decisions and reform efforts in southeastern Wisconsin
Nov, 2004
The decline and likely demise of shared revenue between Wisconsin and local governments provide an opportunity for municipalities and counties to strengthen their regions by working together to find new revenue sources, according to a Milwaukee-...