Most-Read Posts of 2015
Wow, what a year! (I said that at the end of 2014 as well, but that statement holds true again this year.)
2015 was another roller coaster of a year for budget issues. State lawmakers passed a two-year budget this summer, as they do in every odd-numbered year, but the twist this time around was that Governor Walker’s campaign for the presidency kept him out of state for much of the period during which legislators were making budget decisions.
Governor Walker’s decision to campaign on his Wisconsin track record caused national media and potential voters to take a close look at the results of recent budget cuts in the state. Wisconsin’s significant cuts in state support for K-12 education and the University of Wisconsin System, and the slow pace of job growth in the state received national attention this summer, in part due to Governor Walker’s campaign.
Here at the Wisconsin Budget Project, we’ve been working all year to show how budget decisions made by lawmakers help or harm people in Wisconsin. A look back at our most-read posts and publications over the last year serves as a snapshot of budget decisions made over the course of 2015 and demonstrates some of the consequences of those decisions. Four out of our ten most-read posts from 2015 focus on education; the popularity of these posts shows how deeply Wisconsin residents value our state’s public school system.
Here’s the Most-Read list from our files for 2015. Stick with us in 2016 for more about how we can work together to make Wisconsin a great place to live, work, and do business:
- The biggest loser: Wisconsin’s middle class shrinking faster than in any other state (March 26, 2015): The middle class is being hard hit all over the country, and Wisconsin’s middle class is taking the hardest hit of all. Wisconsin’s middle class, once nearly the strongest in the country, has shrunk more than in any other state
- Dramatic changes to Wisconsin’s public school system resulted in loss of experienced teachers (August 25, 2015): Teachers in Wisconsin school districts have less experience that they did a few years ago. Most of the loss of teaching experience occurred between the 2011 and 2012 school years, in the aftermath of dramatic changes that lawmakers made to Wisconsin public schools.
- Wisconsin’s cuts to K-12 schools still deeper than nearly all other states (December 10, 2015): Wisconsin has cut about $1 out of every $8 that it spends supporting students in K-12 schools, a cut larger than all but three other states. Wisconsin cut state general funding for K-12 schools by 12.7% per student between 2008 and 2016 after adjusting for inflation.
- A summary of the Wisconsin budget for education (July 14, 2015): The 2015-17 Wisconsin budget minimally increases state support to public schools, lowers property taxes compared to what they would otherwise be, and devotes new resources to voucher schools.
- Prison price tag: The high cost of Wisconsin’s corrections policies (November 19, 2015): Wisconsin residents are paying a high price – both in dollar terms and in lost human potential – for years of shortsighted corrections policies.
- Better choices for Wisconsin: Legislators can avoid deep cuts without raising taxes (April 14, 2015): State legislators had an opportunity to protect Wisconsin’s assets by passing a budget that strengthens, rather than weakens, Wisconsin’s public schools, public university, and health care system.
- Interactive data feature: Change in general aid to school districts (July 7, 2015): This post shows the change in general aid to school districts from 2014-15 to 2015-16, by county.
- Revised figures paint much less rosy picture of Wisconsin’s fiscal health (July 8, 2015): The state’s fiscal health isn’t nearly as strong as the Governor and a number of other lawmakers asserted in the spring.
- Pulling apart 2015: Focus on Wisconsin’s 1% (January 27, 2015): In 2012, Wisconsin reached a milestone, with a record share of income going to the top 1%.