A Breakdown of Your Wisconsin Income Taxes at Work

Scott Gordon


When Wisconsin’s Legislature crafts the state budget every two years, it relies in part on state income tax payments from about 2.5 million households. In 2016, Wisconsinites paid $7.7 billion in state income taxes. These funds accounted for about 51 percent of the state’s general purpose revenue, with the rest coming from other sources, including sales taxes, alcohol and cigarette taxes, and taxes on utility bills. General purpose revenue is the funding with the least restrictions on how the state can use it, compared to sources such as federal revenue and borrowing.

In a June 23, 2017, report, Wisconsin Public Television’s Here & Now listed what someone earning the state’s median income paid for that year. The median Wisconsin taxpayer earned $38,284 in 2016 and paid $1,104 in state income taxes.
From schools to roads to Wisconsin’s public media (thank you for your support), Here & Now detailed down how the state spends that median tax bill. Here are the highlights:

• $376 to public schools
• $195 to Medicaid
• $183 to state government, of which $84 goes to the Department of Corrections
• $72 to the University of Wisconsin System
• $37 to the Wisconsin Technical College System
• $64 to property tax credits
• $60 to shared revenue for supporting city and county government
• $0.08 to transportation
• $0.01 to Wisconsin Public Broadcasting

Altogether, this adds up to almost 90 percent of what Wisconsin’s general purpose revenue covered in 2016.

This article was originally published by WisContext, which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, and Cooperative Extension. Visit WisContext.org to learn more.

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