Report: Wisconsin local government spending up

MADISON – Government spending was up for the fourth straight year in Wisconsin’s largest cities and villages in 2016, according to a new study by the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Government Spending ReportTotal spending on operations in municipalities larger than 2,000 people was up $26, or 3 percent, per resident. Basic spending, which includes general government operations, police, fire and ambulance services, and street maintenance, rose 2.9 percent in 2016, one year after a 0.7 percent decline.

Street maintenance was among the largest increases, rising 4.5 percent per resident in 2016 after a 4 percent decline the previous year. Likewise, net fire and ambulance spending was up 2.5 percent in 2016 following a decline in 2015.

Per capita spending on law enforcement increased 2.1 percent in 2016, though costs vary substantially among municipalities.

On the revenue side, property tax levies on December 2017 bills rose 2.9 percent, tied with the previous year for the largest increase since 2009. Property taxes per resident went up from $579 to $595.

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