Here is a link to a neat interactive graphic by the Wisconsin Budget Project which shows the change in state aids to K-12 public school districts for this coming year. Feel free to click it and look up your district and see if you're in the 55% of public school districts that will lose aid, or the 45% that will gain.
The other article I want to point you to is an in-depth discussion byUrban Milwaukee's Bruce Thompson on Transportation Funding, and how the costs of building and fixing roads have increased well beyond inflation, and even more beyond increased revenues from the gas tax. And this loss of revenue as well as a change in driving habits has put Congress into a major crunch when it comes to funding roads, and they need to figure this out by the end of the month.
The chart to the right, from the Tax Policy Center, plots the history of the federal gasoline tax since 1980. Early in this period the tax was increased three times. However, since 1994 it has stayed flat at 18.4 cents per gallon. With inflation, it has declined to 11.5 cents in 1994 dollars. If the cost of building roads is considered, the decline is even greater. In effect the buying power of the federal gas tax has dropped by more than half. As a result, the federal highway fund is due to run short of its commitments in the near future, yet Congress has been reluctant to increase the tax.And here is the chart Thompson references, which shows how the federal gas tax buys much less than it did when it was last raised 21 years ago.
It also features a link to this map, which illustrates the total costs of owning a car for every Census Block in America. Thompson's whole article is good, and gives excellent insight into why funding out roads in Wisconsin was such a major problem with this budget, and will continue to be as long as we have "leaders" who refuse to raise revenues for what they want to fix and built.
Feel free to play around with this stuff. I'll try to be back tomorrow with more budget and econ items to look into. My real life has a few things going on (in a good way), so it may be a bit sporadic in the next couple of days.