MacIver has a long, strong tradition of doing in-depth research and analysis of policy issues that provides substance to the soundbites. Even when we go it alone – as we did on more than one issue this year – our goal is always to put the taxpayers first and provide perspective and facts that are missing from the debate. Our research and analysis on these issues mark our top ten efforts in 2023.
10. Polls, Policy and Politics
Good policy is good politics, and recent Marquette Polls show how policy choices impact voter opinions. It’s clear that some policy directions/failures, especially in education, have had profound effects on demographic differences on issues. We took a closer look at what voters are telling leaders they care about, and how those issues and opinions are shifting over time and between demographics.
9. Ranked Choice Voting
Advocates of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) have been targeting Republicans pressing for the elimination of one-person-one-vote. In December there was a senate committee hearing on a bill to upend the way Wisconsinites vote for members of Congress and U.S. Senate, eliminating partisan primaries and sending 5 candidates to the general election where they would be ranked by voters, and declare a winner through a complex system of eliminating candidates. shifting votes and throwing out ballots. Our research dismantles the claims of RCV advocates.
8. Scold and Release Policies Undermine Public Safety
Scold and Release prosecutors and judges are making our communities less safe. Low bail, early release, under-charging, plea bargains and lenient sentences mean serious offenders evade meaningful time behind bars. MacIver has continued to point to the policies and politicians that are making communities more dangerous.
7. Welfare and Work
Wisconsinites have a history of generosity and innovation with welfare benefits. But record high welfare rolls and costs that eat up an ever-greater amount of government spending have not gone unnoticed by the public. When voters went to the polls this spring, they overwhelmingly work requirements for able-bodied childless adults is overdue. We provided in-depth analysis of welfare and work, both past and present this year.
6. The Facts About Gender Transition
The left’s talking points on gender and gender transition leave out a lot of important facts. MacIver delved into recent, peer-reviewed studies that disprove the narrative that’s coming from the left about how ‘benign’ gender transition is and how few differences there are between male and female performance.
5. Supreme Court Election Fallout
After the Supreme Court election this spring, MacIver looked at the potential consequences on issues including deep dives on potential lawsuits headed to the new court on School Choice, Act 10, Abortion, Election Integrity, and Redistricting.
4. DPI Funding of Race Hate
MacIver has reported for years about the tax-funded DPI seminars that promote CRT and race-hate. This year the teacher training seminars have become even more aggressively racist.
The fall program had Bettina Love claiming educational reform over the last 40 years is a manifestation of race hate for which trillions in reparations are due; other speakers said white culture destroys love, joy and humanity. The winter program featured a speaker who claimed teaching teaching standard English is an act of curriculum violence against black students. The lineup for 2024 promises to push the envelope even further.
3. UW Administrative Bloat
As the UW was crying poverty, campuses announcing cuts and leadership refusing to cut DEI positions, MacIver dug into the data on the level of administrative spending at the UW – and the changes in the demographic makeup of students. We found huge growth in administrative spending, continued high unrestricted program revenue balances, state support of the UW that increased at a faster rate than state budget spending, and a huge shift in enrollment demographics so white students are now underrepresented.
2. The Great Milwaukee Bailout
While the legislature was making a deal to bail out Milwaukee by letting them raise taxes, Milwaukee was determined not to abide by the terms of the deal. MacIver kept the taxpayers front of mind while we raised flags about the bailout deal and dug into the details of the legislation. We laid out the growth of the pension problems, the increasing shortfalls, and the years where no contributions were made to the pension fund – we took heat from those who were gung-ho for the bailout, and we made suggestions on how to improve the deal. And Milwaukee did exactly as we predicted.
1. The Historic State Budget
MacIver has always provided matchless, in-depth coverage of the state budget and this year was no different. MacIver covered the process from Governor’s Budget Address in February to JFC’s rejection of the plan, and throughout the months of public testimony, agency briefings, executive sessions and through the final passage, and vetoes. And we paid special attention to the massive surplus that should have gone back to the taxpayers to created it – and instead was left on the cutting room floor after Governor Evers’ vetoes, and our middle-class tax rates left higher than the top rates of all but one of our neighbors.
Budget Coverage Links: