Comparison to Other States
Wisconsin: Not a Tax Hell After All
There are many different ways to compare states based on taxes and spending. It’s best to analyze state and local revenue or spending together when determining Wisconsin’s ranking compared to other states, since certain services may be provided at the local level in one state and at the state level in another state.
One common way of looking at state and local revenues is to compare the amount of revenue raised from state and local sources across states. This includes revenue raised by the state and local governments through taxes, fees, and other sources, and does not include any revenue from the federal government. Looking at revenue from state and local sources as a percentage of income gives an indication of how extensively a state raises revenue within its borders.
Contrary to the commonly held idea that Wisconsin is high in taxes and spending, we are close to the middle among the states. The chart below shows that on a per capita basis, Wisconsin’s revenue from state and local sources — $6,346 – was only slightly higher than the national average of $6,312. This means that the taxes and fees paid by Wisconsin individuals and corporations on a per capita basis are slightly higher, but still similar to those paid across the country.
Wisconsin’s revenue status has changed over the years. Wisconsin ranked fairly high in the 1990s, rose to a high of 11th nationally in 2000, fell as low as 27th, and has recently climbed slightly to 19th. At one time, Wisconsin had fairly high taxes and fees on a per capita basis, but that is no longer the case.
Revenue Sources Compared to Other States
Wisconsin raises about the same amount of revenue as a percentage of income from state and local sources as other states, but we’re a little different in how we raise it.
Compared to other states, Wisconsin gets a larger share of its revenue from the property tax and income tax, and a smaller share from sales and excise taxes, and fees. Wisconsin gets the same share of its revenue from state and local sources from the corporate income tax. The chart below compares Wisconsin and the national average in terms of revenue sources from state and local sources.