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


Mar, 2012
In this report, we set the stage for discussion of service sharing in Milwaukee County's suburban school districts. Our specific focus is the dollars those districts are spending on out-of-classroom services, including administrative, "back office"...
Nov, 2011
In a 2006 analysis of City of Milwaukee economic development efforts, the Public Policy Forum lamented the absence of a comprehensive economic plan, suggesting such a plan was needed to mobilize the city’s business, community, and public sector...
Oct, 2011
In a series of budget briefs and reports produced during the past three years, the Public Policy Forum consistently has urged Milwaukee County’s leaders to recognize the structural nature and depth of their fiscal problems and to develop a strategic...
Oct, 2011
The 2012 proposed budget for the City of Milwaukee represents a second consecutive year of relative calm before a likely return of dark fiscal storm clouds within the next two years. Dramatic savings related to employee benefits allow the city to...
Aug, 2011
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’...
Aug, 2011
Pull-out poster providing Southeastern Wisconsin property value and tax increases in an easily readable format.