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.

Search Publications


Feb, 2015
In this report, the Public Policy Forum examines culture and recreation in the "WOW" (Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington) counties. Our research is a follow-up to two recent reports released by the Forum that assessed the needs of cultural and...
Oct, 2014
Whereas the 2014 budget was remarkable by Milwaukee County standards given its manageable structural gap and the opportunity it afforded to reinvest in infrastructure and services, the 2015 recommended budget reflects a more familiar set of fiscal...
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.