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Quick Reads

At the Start of the New Year, Minimum Wages Went up in 21 States. Wisconsin Wasn’t One of Them.

January 4, 2022 — Low-paid workers across the country are getting raises because 21 states and 35 cities and counties increased their minimum wages around the beginning of the year. Those raises will lift workers out of poverty, help struggling families make ends meet, and make it easier for workers to achieve financial security. Unfortunately, Wisconsin workers won’t get any of those benefits, as Wisconsin lawmakers have refused to increase the state’s minimum wage for more than a decade.

Four Charts that Show the Harm of Racial Disparities in Wisconsin’s Prisons

November 16, 2021 — Wisconsin’s use of incarceration to lock up a staggering share of its population of color inflicts serious harm on individuals and communities. New figures show that the racial disparities in Wisconsin’s incarceration rates far exceed disparities at the national level, which themselves are stark. The result is a system that deepens the divide between Whites and people of color, and uses public resources to do so.

TANF at 25: Failing to Meet the Needs of WI Families

August 19, 2021 — On August 22 of this year, the law creating the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF) turns 25 years old, and that’s not a cause for celebration. At the national level and here in Wisconsin, TANF is serving only a small fraction of the families who are living in poverty and are eligible for assistance.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Directed Far More Resources to an Income Tax Cut than Other Critical Priorities

August 9, 2021 — The huge tax cut that Wisconsin lawmakers passed in the state budget far outstrips the minimal investments they made in critical priorities like education, health, and workforce development. The size of the tax cut will make it harder for schools, communities, and families with low incomes to get the resources they need to thrive. Diverting billions of dollars to a tax cut that leaves out people with low incomes will also make it more difficult for the state to address the racial disparities that hold back Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin Legislature Shows Budget Priorities by Voting Against Expanding Health Care, and For a Tax Cut for the Wealthy

May 13, 2021 — Last week the legislature’s budget committee removed a provision from the state budget that would have provided health insurance to almost 100,000 Wisconsin residents with low incomes, and would save the state more than a billion dollars in tax revenue over the next two years. On the same day, the committee preserved a tax cut that funnels millions of dollars into the pockets of a small group of the extremely wealthy who have rigged the system for their own benefit. This combination of actions demonstrates the legislature’s priorities so far in the budget process: making it more difficult for people with low incomes to meet their basic needs, while refusing to accept proposed changes that would require big corporations and the top 1% to pay their fair share. 

In Governor’s Budget, Tax Cuts Go Mostly to People with Lowest Incomes

April 5, 2021 — Governor Evers’ proposed budget includes changes that would reshape Wisconsin’s tax code to give less of an advantage to wealthy and powerful interests, by reining in wasteful tax breaks for the rich and redirecting some of the benefits to the middle class and people with low incomes.

State tax policies can be a powerful tool for expanding opportunity and enhancing racial equity. But Wisconsin’s tax system is a major driver of economic inequality and contributes to the increasing concentration of income and wealth in a few hands —hands that are most likely to be white, due to a long history of racial discrimination.

Wisconsin Should Help Small Businesses with Targeted Grants, Not PPP Double-Dipping

February 15, 2021 — Wisconsin state lawmakers are rushing to pass a new tax break for businesses, with a minimum of opportunities for public input. The tax cut would significantly reduce the amount of resources Wisconsin has to invest in families, schools, and communities that have been battered by the pandemic and the recession, and it would fail to help many small businesses who are the intended beneficiaries.