Capitol Update

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A Closer Look at Spending in Wisconsin
Budgeting is a common occurrence for all of our families. Matching what we take in as income with what we spend as expenses is an important exercise. This budgeting requires us to choose priorities and decide what is most important. As we’ve been discussing these past months, the State of Wisconsin is no different. Our budget should reflect our priorities and we should not be spending more than we can afford.
Overall, spending in Wisconsin is high compared to the rest of the country. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, Wisconsin was the 11th highest spending state in the country per citizen in 2013, the most recently available year. Wisconsin spent $7,448 per citizen, compared to an average of $5,344 per person nationally. I’m often asked, what are the state’s priorities, where does all that money go? A closer look at expenses reveals not only Wisconsin’s priorities, but sheds light on some trends.

The chart below shows how every General Fund dollar is spent and budgeted by the State of Wisconsin since the year 2000. This is broken up into six major priorities of spending: K-12 Education, UW System, Health Services, Local Government Shared Revenue, Department of Corrections, and other agencies. Transportation appears small on the chart because the transportation fund is separate from General Purpose Revenue. The chart also shows what percentage of spending each category accounted for in 2000 and will account for in 2017.



*Source: Legislative Fiscal Bureau


There are a few points to highlight in this data. Overall, since 2000, spending by state government will have increased from $21 billion to nearly $37 billion in 2017. These numbers also highlight challenging trends in health services spending not only in Wisconsin, but across the country. Not only has health care gotten more expensive but enrollment in health programs has risen steadily over the years. In 2000, spending on health services accounted for just 15% of the State’s General Fund. By 2017, health spending will account for 22.1% of state dollars. That rise represents an increase from $1.7 billion in 2000 to nearly $4 billion budgeted in 2017, by far the biggest increase of any agency.



*Source: Legislative Fiscal Bureau


The pressure this puts on other spending priorities for our state is unmistakable. Dollars that are spent on health services cannot also be spent on our roads or education. This shows the work that still needs to be done to keep state spending under control and ensure we’re budgeting responsibly.


In the District


Blanchardville 125th Anniversary
This weekend, Blanchardville will be celebrating its 125th anniversary. There will be special events in Blanchardville from August 6-9th. For a full schedule of events, please visit the village website. I will be at the parade on Saturday and I hope to see you all there!



Wa-Du-Shuda Days
A couple weeks ago, I was able to attend Wa-Du-Shuda Days in New Lisbon. A highlight from this event is the Friends of the Library Celebrity Pie Auction. My black cap berry pie sold for $175! I picked the black caps (black raspberries) myself and made the pie! Thanks to Teague Fenwick for buying it.


*Teague Fenwick and Senator Marklein

Helpful Information


Wisconsin Realtors Association: Housing Data for the 17th Senate District
Data for home sales was recently released for 2015. Home sales continue to grow at a steady pace and reached their highest year-to-date level since 2006. Home prices have generally been on the rise on an annual basis for more than three years. I have included the year-to-date data on home sales in each one of the counties in the 17th senate district. I have also included the year-to-date data on home sales for the same period of time for 2014. As a reflection of the economic environment, I am encouraged by this trend of growth in the housing market and I hope it continues.

Number of Home Sales, Year to Date 2015 & 2014


County 2015 YTD Home Sales 2014 YTD Home Sales
Grant 227 204
Green 309 264
Iowa 168 144
Juneau 204 177
Lafayette 81 68
Monroe 248 230
Richland 105 87
Sauk 503 475
Vernon 134 109

Source: Wisconsin Realtors Association


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State Capitol - Room 8 South - Post Office Box 7882 - Madison, Wisconsin 53707 - Phone: (608) 266-0703

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