Wisconsin Policy Forum

Wisconsin Policy Forum The Public Policy Forum and Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance have merged! We are now the Wisconsin Policy Forum, a statewide policy research organization.

Effective January 1, 2018, we are the Wisconsin Policy Forum, a statewide policy research organization with offices in Milwaukee and Madison. We will maintain our shared mission of providing informed, nonpartisan analysis of critical policy issues affecting local governments, school districts, and the State of Wisconsin. However, we now have increased staff capacity, broader research capabilities, and an enhanced platform to even better engage and inform policymakers and citizens.

Operating as usual

In which our president Rob Henken unpacks how the new #AmericanRescuePlan will affect state and local government budgets...
04/01/2021
1st Quarter 2021 Presidents Message

In which our president Rob Henken unpacks how the new #AmericanRescuePlan will affect state and local government budgets, uses for the federal aid that they and shouldn't consider, and what it all has in common with... a "Seinfeld" episode.

When I first learned of the dollar amounts that will flow to Wisconsin’s local governments and school districts from the new American Rescue Plan, I felt like I was in the “Bizarro” episode from the Seinfeld show. That’s the one where Jerry and his friends feel like they’re in an alternate...

Our research director Jason Stein had a fun discussion with TMJ4 News' Steve Chamraz about our recent research showing o...
03/31/2021
With nowhere to go indoors, Wisconsin flocked to state parks in pandemic

Our research director Jason Stein had a fun discussion with TMJ4 News' Steve Chamraz about our recent research showing outdoor activities boomed during the pandemic -- and what this could mean for state and local policies going forward. Take a look!

Long before there was a vaccine for COVID-19 there was a tonic that eased the pain of lockdowns and social distancing.

WMSN FOX 47 News, Madison covers our latest on inmate populations in Wisconsin prisons and jails hitting a two-decade lo...
03/29/2021
Wisconsin's inmate population reaches historic low, new report finds

WMSN FOX 47 News, Madison covers our latest on inmate populations in Wisconsin prisons and jails hitting a two-decade low.

This reflects "decisions to keep people out of jails and prisons during the pandemic, but also pre-pandemic emphasis on criminal justice reform."

MADISON, Wis. — The number of inmates in Wisconsin’s county jails and state prisons has reached the lowest levels the state has seen in two decades, a new report from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum released Thursday found. COVID-19’s impact on the state’s incarcerated...

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on how Wisconsin's inmate population in local jails abd state prisons plummeted...
03/26/2021
Wisconsin's Prison, Jail Populations Plummet During Pandemic

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on how Wisconsin's inmate population in local jails abd state prisons plummeted during the pandemic to a two-decade low.

We find this trend and its implications warrant closer examination moving forward.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the inmate population at Wisconsin's state prisons and local jails to decline by more than one-third in 2020, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Our latest research looks at how Wisconsin's combined inmate population in state prisons and local jails plummeted durin...
03/25/2021
Wisconsin's prison population drops to lowest level in more than 20 years during COVID-19 pandemic

Our latest research looks at how Wisconsin's combined inmate population in state prisons and local jails plummeted during the pandemic, reaching the lowest level in more than two decades.

See this coverage from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!

Wisconsin’s inmate population dropped to levels it hasn’t seen in more than 20 years during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released Thursday.

"95% of Wisconsin teachers are white, compared to about 70% of students.It’s an important imbalance, partly because rese...
03/23/2021
Report Examines Barriers To A More Diverse Wisconsin Teacher Workforce

"95% of Wisconsin teachers are white, compared to about 70% of students.

It’s an important imbalance, partly because research shows students of color benefit from having at least 1 teacher who looks like them."

WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR covers our latest, via Emily Files.

Students in Wisconsin K-12 schools are rapidly becoming more diverse. But their teachers are not. Ninety-five percent of Wisconsin teachers are white, compared to about 70% of students.

Thanks to all who joined our virtual Forum Friday discussion -- held in partnership with City Forward Collective -- with...
03/22/2021
State superintendent candidates Kerr, Underly trade accusations about business, family decisions as campaign gets testy

Thanks to all who joined our virtual Forum Friday discussion -- held in partnership with City Forward Collective -- with state superintendent candidates Deb Kerr for Wisconsin State Superintendent and Dr. Jill Underly for WI.

Check out this coverage of the event from Rory Linnane at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel!

Emails published Friday showed Deborah Kerr had used a district email address for correspondence about her private company.

We just concluded a lively, informative virtual forum with the candidates for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction...
03/19/2021
Forum Friday: State Superintendent Candidate Forum

We just concluded a lively, informative virtual forum with the candidates for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction state superintendent: Deb Kerr for Wisconsin State Superintendent
and Dr. Jill Underly for WI.

Thanks to the candidates, audience & our partner in hosting the event, City Forward Collective. Click the link to watch!

For the March 2021 installment of our virtual event series, Forum Friday, we hosted a discussion with State Superintendent of Public Instruction candidates Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly. The two candidates will face off for the state’s top education post in the spring election on April 6. Forum Se...

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workforce to more closely match ...
03/19/2021
In Wisconsin, There Are Barriers To Teacher Diversity At Every Level, Report Finds

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workforce to more closely match its student population.

We looked at local efforts to support future teachers of color, and possible options for a state-level initiative.

Studies show that students benefit from a diverse teacher workforce, but a new report indicates there are barriers for nonwhite people entering the teaching profession in Wisconsin at every step of the process, as well as structural racism in schools, universities and assessment systems that create....

It's not too late to register for our Forum Friday virtual event at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, March 19!Partnering with City F...
03/18/2021
Forum Friday: State Superintendent Candidate Forum

It's not too late to register for our Forum Friday virtual event at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, March 19!

Partnering with City Forward Collective, we'll interview State Superintendent candidates Deb Kerr for Wisconsin State Superintendent and Dr. Jill Underly for WI -- then do a brief audience Q&A.

Click below to learn more!

What is Forum Friday? In this webinar format, we discuss a timely research topic and invite notable guests and Forum members to join the conversation. While this new virtual event series doesn't replace our in-person events, we hope this can be a new way to keep you informed and connected on our sta...

See this WORT FM News coverage of our latest research, which examines hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workfo...
03/18/2021
New Report Identifies Barriers to Teacher Diversity in Wisconsin - WORT 89.9 FM

See this WORT FM News coverage of our latest research, which examines hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workforce to more closely match its student population.

We also looked at local initiatives on teacher diversity, and potential options for state policymakers to consider.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum, a nonpartisan research organization, released a report on March 17th which identified that barriers at every step of becoming a teacher are stalling people of color from joining the state’s teacher workforce. The report documents specific barriers and challenges people ...

The Capital Times covers our latest report, which looks at the hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workforce. It...
03/17/2021
Report: 'Wisconsin has a long way to go' in diversifying teacher workforce

The Capital Times covers our latest report, which looks at the hurdles to diversifying Wisconsin's teacher workforce.

It also examines local efforts to develop more teachers of color, and offers options for a potential statewide initiative.

Our report doesn't advocate a specific solution. But it offers options to consider, including setting a statewide vision and goals for diversifying the teacher workforce to better align with increasing diversity among our student population.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum suggested a variety of potential solutions, including the need for state action in addition to local initiatives.

The Wisconsin State Journal cites our recent research on how Wisconsin heads into the 2021-23 budget cycle "in a surpris...
03/16/2021
With $6 billion in COVID-19 relief coming, state budget in far better shape than anticipated

The Wisconsin State Journal cites our recent research on how Wisconsin heads into the 2021-23 budget cycle "in a surprisingly strong position" -- due in part to robust federal aid and a smaller-than-expected downturn in tax revenues amid the pandemic. Riley Vetterkind has the report.

Wisconsin is expected to take in about as much revenue this year than officials predicted before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers our latest on fire/EMS agencies in Ozaukee County. We found they may benefit from ...
03/15/2021
The Ozaukee County fire departments' 'bare-boned' approach requires a change, study says

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covers our latest on fire/EMS agencies in Ozaukee County.

We found they may benefit from greater collaboration as they face increasing calls for service, staff recruitment/retention hurdles, & response times that lag comparable areas.

Ozaukee County fire departments recently saw a 23.5% increase in calls, but they're operating with fewer employees.

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on Fire/EMS response in Ozaukee County. We found agencies there may benefit fro...
03/12/2021
Report: Ozaukee County Fire And EMS Response Times Lagging

Wisconsin Public Radio covers our latest on Fire/EMS response in Ozaukee County.

We found agencies there may benefit from greater collaboration as they grapple with increasing calls for service, staff recruitment and retention hurdles, and service response times that lag comparable areas.

A Wisconsin Policy Forum report finds the fire and EMS spending levels per capita in Ozaukee County are far lower than peer areas.

The next installment of our popular Forum Friday virtual series will feature the candidates for State Superintendent in ...
03/12/2021
Forum Friday: State Superintendent Candidate Forum

The next installment of our popular Forum Friday virtual series will feature the candidates for State Superintendent in the April 6 general election, Deb Kerr for Wisconsin State Superintendent and Dr. Jill Underly for WI.

The event will be held March 19 in partnership with City Forward Collective. Learn more and register at the link below!

What is Forum Friday? In this webinar format, we discuss a timely research topic and invite notable guests and Forum members to join the conversation. While this new virtual event series doesn't replace our in-person events, we hope this can be a new way to keep you informed and connected on our sta...

Our research director Jason Stein is set to join Wisconsin Public Radio's Central Time at 4:30 p.m. today to discuss our...
03/11/2021
Central Time

Our research director Jason Stein is set to join Wisconsin Public Radio's Central Time at 4:30 p.m. today to discuss our latest research.

It examines Governor Tony Evers' state budget proposal and outlines 6 keys to the upcoming budget debate. Tune in!

"Central Time" takes a unique approach each hour to cover a mix of topics, finding the latest news, cultural trends, and exploring ideas -- big and small -- to find the best guests to discuss these thought-provoking topics. It can be heard weekdays on the Ideas Network from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Thanks to Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) for spreading the word about our new state budget brief. It summ...
03/11/2021
Wisconsin Policy Forum releases budget analysis

Thanks to Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) for spreading the word about our new state budget brief.

It summarizes Governor Tony Evers' 2021-23 state budget proposal, while identifying 6 keys we expect to dominate the upcoming budget debate regardless of what lawmakers approve and send to the governor.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum has released their state budget brief which “provides an overview of Evers’ proposal while scrutinizing key areas of the budget that require attention regardless of…

Thanks to the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Universities & Technical Colleges for inviting Forum research director Jason...
03/10/2021
Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges

Thanks to the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Universities & Technical Colleges for inviting Forum research director Jason Stein to testify today about our research on Wisconsin's higher education system finances.

We particularly appreciate Chairman State Senator Roger Roth acknowledging that our December report, "Falling Behind? The state of Wisconsin's public universities and colleges," was the first thing he read after being named chair of the Universities & Tech Colleges committee!

To watch the testimony, click the video link and forward to 4:15:30.

Check out this The Capital Times coverage of our new brief on the upcoming state budget: "A new nonpartisan report from ...
03/10/2021
Wisconsin budget breakdown: Federal boost, heightened spending, lasting implications

Check out this The Capital Times coverage of our new brief on the upcoming state budget:

"A new nonpartisan report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum warns that the stakes remain high: decisions state officials make in the coming months, per the brief, "will reverberate far into the future."

As lawmakers prepare to delve into Gov. Tony Evers' budget, the pandemic's continued effects loom large over health care, K-12 education and other areas highlighted in a new Wisconsin Policy

Wisconsin Public Radio reports on City of Milwaukee Common Council-City Clerk and City of Milwaukee Health Department pl...
03/08/2021
City Of Milwaukee To Survey Residents About Pandemic Mental Health

Wisconsin Public Radio reports on City of Milwaukee Common Council-City Clerk and City of Milwaukee Health Department plans to survey city residents about pandemic-related mental health concerns.

Our president Rob Henken is quoted discussing our previous research on behavioral health needs in Milwaukee County.

The city of Milwaukee is sending all residents a mental health needs assessment to see how people are doing one year into the pandemic.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks ahead to the debate on the future of the state's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program...
03/05/2021
After a record year in state park attendance, Gov. Evers proposes large hike in stewardship spending in biennial budget

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks ahead to the debate on the future of the state's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program, including Governor Tony Evers' proposal.

Cited is our research showing Wisconsinites turned to outdoor pursuits amid the pandemic in 2020.

Evers proposes increase in funding for program to buy public land, following a year that saw more than 20 million visits to state parks.

Wisconsin State Journal cited our research on recent revenue trends for the state transportation fund.Also included is a...
03/04/2021
Tony Evers' budget relies on borrowing for road projects, but new solutions may soon be needed

Wisconsin State Journal cited our research on recent revenue trends for the state transportation fund.

Also included is a discussion with Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials on why current revenue sources and borrowing "remain an unsustainable solution over the long term."

Evers' budget proposes spending almost $566 million in federal and state funds for major highway programs over the biennium, including $75 million for local multimodal transportation projects.

TMJ4 News cites our research on housing affordability in Milwaukee County in its coverage of the Village of Shorewood, W...
03/03/2021
Shorewood votes to invest $2.5 million in equitable housing

TMJ4 News cites our research on housing affordability in Milwaukee County in its coverage of the Village of Shorewood, Wisconsin plans to invest in equitable, affordable housing for its residents.

The Milwaukee metropolitan area has been ranked among the most segregated communities in the country; new equitable housing plans to combat that.

BizTimes Media covers our latest research on how Wisconsinites turned to outdoor activities during the pandemic -- and t...
03/02/2021
Report shows outdoor activities in Wisconsin increased during pandemic

BizTimes Media covers our latest research on how Wisconsinites turned to outdoor activities during the pandemic -- and the possible implications for consumer behavior and for state and local spending on outdoor spaces and programs. Maredithe Meyer has the report.

As the COVID-19 pandemic kept people at home, often without work, the great outdoors became an outlet for many Wisconsinites.

Check out this Wisconsin Public Radio coverage of our latest on how Wisconsinites flocked outdoors during the pandemic -...
02/26/2021
Wisconsin Public Radio

Check out this Wisconsin Public Radio coverage of our latest on how Wisconsinites flocked outdoors during the pandemic -- and what that could mean for state and local budgets.

A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that sales of state parks stickers jumped by more than 42 percent in 2020 compared with sales in 2019.

FOX6 News Milwaukee covers our latest research, which found parks and trails, sporting goods, birding apps, and fishing ...
02/25/2021
Report: Outdoor activities soared during pandemic

FOX6 News Milwaukee covers our latest research, which found parks and trails, sporting goods, birding apps, and fishing and hunting licenses saw increased sales and/or usage in 2020 amid the pandemic.

It's unclear the extent to which these trends will outlast the pandemic. But state and local policymakers may wish to consider them as they craft budgets for parks, conservation, and recreation.

A new report Thursday from the Wisconsin Policy Forum attempts to quantify just how much more state residents were getting out of the house.

The Wisconsin State Journal covers our latest, which finds Wisconsinites flocked outdoors to pursue a range of recreatio...
02/25/2021
Outdoor recreation surged during pandemic, but will funding follow?

The Wisconsin State Journal covers our latest, which finds Wisconsinites flocked outdoors to pursue a range of recreational activities during the pandemic.

While the extent to which this trend continues is unclear, we consider what it may mean for policymakers as they craft budgets for parks, public lands, and conservation and recreational programs.

While it’s unclear if the trend will hold, a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum says interest in the outdoors may signal a need to boost funding for public

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Milwaukee, WI
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Join the region's thought leaders by becoming a member of the Forum. Individual, corporate, and non-profit memberships available. http://www.publicpolicyforum.org/memberinfo.php

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Monday 08:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:30 - 17:00
Thursday 08:30 - 17:00
Friday 08:30 - 17:00

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Comments

Hello – I thought your membership may be interested in seeing Mike McCabe for Governor’s proposal to repeal over 130 laws enacted since 2011 that have taken away local democracy. Mike wants to (once again) empower local communities (not those at the State Capitol) to be free to decide what’s best for them.