Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance

Municipal Spending Highest Since 2011

Rises by 1.8% for second straight year, but drops by 6.6% in Milwaukee.

By - Aug 11th, 2016 11:14 am
Milwaukee City Hall

Milwaukee City Hall

Total operational spending in Wisconsin’s cities and villages with populations over 2,000 saw modest increases for a second straight year in 2014, rising 1.8% from $841 to $856 per resident, according to a new study.

MunicipalFacts16, an exclusive annual study released by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), reviews spending in Wisconsin’s 245 most populous municipalities. WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education.

The operating figures represent key government services, such as general government operations; police; fire and ambulance services; and road maintenance, plus other programs such as health and human services, recreation, and public works.

WISTAX also examined these first four categories—”basic spending”—which rose 1% from $561 to $567 per resident. Police expenditures (40.3% of basic spending) accounted for the largest share of spending, followed by fire-ambulance services (24.7%) and street maintenance (20.4%).

Per capita expenditures for police were the only one of the four basic service areas where spending did not increase, remaining at $228. Fire-ambulance expenditures rose 0.8% to $140 per person. After a wide fluctuation in street maintenance in the two previous years (down 7.5% in 2012, then up 7.4% in 2013) , spending rose 0.5% in 2014, to $116. Per capita spending for general government administration rose 4.5%, to $83 per capita.

On the revenue side, shared revenues from the state declined slightly, from $127 to $126 per capita. Per capita debt increased 0.2% in 2014 to $1,553, compared to average annual increases of 1.2% during 2009-13. Overall, property tax levies increased 2.1% in 2016, down slightly from 2.4% in 2015. Per capita property taxes rose 1.7% to $565, which was less than the 2.1 % increase from the previous year.

The 2014 figures, which became available this spring, mark the third full year since 2011 Act 10, which required most public employees to contribute to their retirement, eliminated benefits as a subject of collective bargaining, and limited bargained wage increases to inflation. Previous WISTAX studies showed that municipal spending declined in 2012, and then began inching up again in 2013. This year’s per capita operating expenditure figure is the highest since 2011.

Close to home, spending on municipal operations in Milwaukee was $1,217 per capita, a -6.6% change from 2013 vs. the 1.8% increase among the 245 municipalities studied by WISTAX. In 2014, average law enforcement spending was $228 per resident, while police spending in Milwaukeee was $460. Street maintenance spending totaled $149 per capita, compared to $116 elsewhere. While net fire and ambulance expenditures averaged $140 statewide, they averaged $199 per person in Milwaukee.

Categories: Politics, WisTax

4 thoughts on “WisTax: Municipal Spending Highest Since 2011”

  1. Jason says:

    I think we forget to show case how much citizens are paying out of pocket in municipal taxes. Fox example, my daughter has a recent seizure. Under my new medical plan approved with Barack Obama’s blessing. It Did not cover North shore emergency services. So I was stuck with a $1200 emergency bill. When I called my insurer they gave me a list of alternative ambulances such as the city of Milwaukee.

  2. Jason says:

    Looks like the County wants to stick us with another wheel tax on top of the existing wheel tax on the city of Milwaukee. So were now allowing, the disabled and the elderly to ride the county bus for free many of which collect entitlements and choose to not work. On the other hand, I’m working two jobs and a vehicle is essential and it looks like the local governments are going to steal from me again. If you are paying taxes and attempting to improve society the municipality beast is coming for you.

  3. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Jason refuses to understand that this is a direct effect of his boy Walker refusing give adequate state aid to local governments, and choosing to give it away to voucher schools and WEDC instead.

    Fortunately, 60% of the state isn’t so weak-minded and sees through Walker’s shell game

  4. Jason says:

    Your point is valid cities and counties are getting less money from the state or “WALKER” but it is also a Federal problem. Most workers in this country give 12.5 % of their checks to Washington with the promise that it will be there in the future. Unfortunately, 12.5% is not enough and you can not fault Walker or Obama for the rise in Medicaid, Medicare or SSI. Peolpe do not want to work and demand more entitlements.

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