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Best Use Of Taxpayer Dollars Last Year

1st Place: Confluence funds in state budget
2nd Place: Public schools and universities
3rd Place: Police and fire

When it comes to spending their hard-earned tax dollars, our readers say they are most happy with the $15 million included in the 2015-17 state budget for the performing arts portion of the Confluence Project. Second place went to spending on public schools and universities — the former received a small boost in the state budget, while the latter got a big cut. The budget allocates $6.15 billion annually for K-12 education (that’s about 55 percent of K-12 costs; the rest comes from local property tax payers). Meanwhile, the state budget included just over $1 billion in tax dollars for the UW System, which is divvied up among its 26 campuses and the statewide UW-Extension. (The rest of the UW System’s funding comes from tuition, grants, and program revenue.) Third place on our most-appreciated list are police and fire services, which are generally funded at the local level. The city of Eau Claire’s 2015 budget allocates $27.2 million for public safety, or about 44 percent of the city’s general fund. —Barbara Arnold


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