When the number of full-time equivalent positions was measured relative to each state's 2009 population, Wisconsin was 4.4 percent below the national average and ranked 38th, meaning only 12 states had a leaner public sector.
Wisconsin's spending and taxes have been falling relative to other states for a number of years, showing a significant drop between 2000 and 2008. Wisconsin went from 15th highest in 2000 to 27th in 2008 in total state and local government revenue per capita, and from 13th to 23rd in total spending per capita. [Wisconsin is the 20th largest state by population.] Wisconsin continues to rank very low in federal revenue. On a per capita basis, Wisconsin ranks 46th in federal revenue, 17 percent below average. State and local spending for public employee payrolls was 9 percent below the national average and ranked 33rd.
Analysis of the 2009 employment data found that Wisconsin had the highest percentage of its workforce in manufacturing among all states. Government employment across the U.S. gas grown slightly since 2000, but has declined in Wisconsin. In 2008, Wisconsin was 8.2% below the national average in the number of state and local employees for every 1, 000 state residents, ranking 41st nationally.
Overall, taxes in Wisconsin are regressive...Familes in Wisconsin making less than $20,000 a year pay 9.2 percent of their income in sales and excise, income, property taxes, while families making $388,000 or more pay only 6.7 percent of those taxes.
Contrary to the commonly held belief that Wisconsin is high in taxes and spending, we are close to the middle among the states. Wisconsin's state and local revenue as a percentage of income in 16.7 percent, slightly above the national average of 16.4 percent.