Wisconsin's overall state-local tax burden again declined last year, though the drop was due mainly to two specific events, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX). In a new report "A Glass Half Empty or Half Full," WISTAX cites as primary reasons for the drop, a 19% decline in unemployment insurance taxes due to a strengthening economy, and the elimination of the 0.5% Brown County sales tax that paid for renovations of Lambeau Field. WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education. The combined state-local tax burden for 2017 was 10.7% of personal income, down 0.1 percentage points from 10.8% in 2016. State-local taxes relative to personal income have declined six consecutive years since reaching 11.9% of income in 2011.
So what does this information mean to you? What does it mean to your business?
Please plan on attending the May First Friday Forum to hear featured speaker Rob Henken, president of Wisconsin Policy Forum, created on January 1, 2018 by the merger of the Madison-based Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance and the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum. WPF conducts nonpartisan, independent research and civic education on fiscal and policy issues affecting state and local governments and school districts in Wisconsin.
Since joining the Public Policy Forum in January 2008, Henken has authored or co-authored four reports that won national awards from the Governmental Research Association. He was named one of Milwaukee's 100 most influential leaders in The Milwaukee Business Journal's annual "Power Book" in 2012 and one of Milwaukee's 'Game Changers' by M Magazine in 2013. Prior to becoming PPF President, Henken worked in Milwaukee County Government for nearly 10 years, serving as Director of Research for the County Board, Director of Health and Human Services, and Director of Administrative Services. Henken also has directed two nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee: the Alliance for Future Transit and the Milwaukee Jobs Initiative. Prior to moving to Milwaukee in 1994, he worked for seven years on Capitol Hill as a senior aide to two congressmen and as staff director for a House of Representatives foreign affairs subcommittee.
In addition to leading the Forum, Henken has served as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he has taught on transportation policy. He also served as President of the Governmental Research Association, which includes nearly 30 research organizations from 19 states, from 2014-16. Henken has a Bachelors Degree in History from Brown University and a Masters in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University. Born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, he lives in Bayside with his wife, Barrie, and dog, Barkley. The couple has two grown sons, Danny and Ben.