Is Wisconsin a Big Spender? The Numbers Say No


October 9, 2012

Wisconsin is about in the middle of the pack in government spending, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Combined state and local spending per person in Wisconsin was 1.4% below the per capita national average in 2010 – the latest year for which data is available – placing it 23rd among the states.

When spending is measured relative to income, Wisconsin was 2.9% above average in 2010, but still ranked 23rd. These numbers pre-date the deep cuts in government spending included in the 2011-13 state budget.

“It’s always somewhat discouraging to hear Wisconsin referred to by some politicians as a high-spending state, when that really hasn’t been true for several years,” said Jon Peacock, director of the Wisconsin Budget Project, a Madison-based research organization focusing on tax and budget policy. “We’ve been an average state in terms of spending for quite a while.” Read the full press release.