The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Archive for October, 2012

The Economy & You #56 – Taxes – How Do We Rank?

Wisconsin Welcome Sign

WTA reviewed the tax figures for 2010 and compared tax burdens as a share of personal income. The results showed that Wisconsin ranked 9th highest of having taxes as a share of personal income.  This is up from 14th in 2007. Wisconsin has been known historically as a high tax state. Wisconsin ranks in the top half of the majority of state-local taxes except for sales tax.

According to the data, this is how Wisconsin ranks among the 50 states:

Property Tax – 9th

Individual Income Tax – 12th

Sales Tax – 35th

Corporate Income Tax – 11th

Tobacco Tax – 3rd

Overall Tax Burden – 9th

When compared to other Midwestern states (IA, IL, MI, MN), Wisconsin ranks higher than every state in every category except two. Minnesota ranks higher than Wisconsin regarding individual income tax, and all states except Illinois outrank Wisconsin for General Sales Tax.

Still, this does not tell the whole story. States also receive revenue from charges for services and from the federal government. While the data would indicate that Wisconsin is in the top 10 regarding taxes as a percentage of personal income, if charges are factored into the calculation, Wisconsin’s rank would fall to 14th highest of percentage of tax burden because Wisconsin ranks 31st for charges that state and local governments assess their citizens.

Overall, state tax rankings have not changed much over the last few years.  Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming have remained the five highest tax states in the country while Alabama, South Dakota and Tennessee have stayed near the bottom.

Another source of revenue for states is aid received from the federal government.  Historically, Wisconsin does not fare well in receiving federal dollars and Wisconsin continues to be ranked in the bottom half of states that receive funds from Washington D.C. Still, Wisconsin did see an increase in federal aid from 2008 to 2010.  Revenues increased over 46% in that period which is a large increase when one considers that federal aid was less than 3.6% of state revenue in 2008 and that percentage reached 5.2% in 2010.

We must remember that revenues are only one side of the budget equation. While Wisconsin ranks high for tax burden as a share of personal income, we also need to examine the spending side and what state-local spending takes as a percentage of personal income as well — an article for a future date.


Treasurer’s Top 5: Saint Croix County

Hudson, Saint Croix County
Courtesy: Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Area Tourism

This week, we travel to Saint Croix County.  Here’s a look at the Top 5 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you see anyone on this list you know?  If so, have check out and search their name to make a claim.  They can also call 855-375-CASH (2274)

Saint Croix County

IPE Corp

Ida Unell

John A Scott

Phoebe Jensch

Laverne and Grace Amundson

Money Matters: Buying a Car


So…you want to buy a car and think you are ready. Have you made the proper plans or are you just going to march down to the dealer and sign a few papers? You think your negotiating skills are perfect and you can get a good deal?

Money Matters: Going Through a Divorce

LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.

It is emotional, heart-wrenching, and energy draining. It also forces financial and lifestyle changes that impact everyone involved. For many people, divorce is the biggest financial transaction they face.

Even if you aren’t going through a divorce and are certain you will never have one, don’t stop reading.

The Economy & You #54 – International Purchasing Power and the Big Mac

A central doctrine in economics states that goods should sell for the same price around the world after we adjust for exchange rates between national currencies, and the exchange rate between two countries should mirror the difference in price levels between those two countries.

To test this theory, we need to select a good that is sold in many places throughout the world such as a Big Mac.  The idea is that the difference in price for a Big Mac in the U.S. and the price for a Big Mac in Norway should be approximately the same as the difference in the exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and the Norwegian Kroner. The higher the price difference should coincide with a higher exchange rate.


Treasurer’s Top 5: Rusk County

Fall Colors, Rusk County

This week, we travel to Rusk County.  Here’s a look at the Top 5 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you see anyone on this list you know?  If so, have check out and search their name to make a claim.  They can also call 855-375-CASH (2274)

Rusk County

Lakeview Medical Center

Patricia McNair

Marie D Schaer

Robert T Nolan

Irene Beverly