Wisconsin Policy Questions

Click here to learn Wisconsin’s strengths and weaknesses in the fight against hunger and poverty. What is the state doing well? How can it improve?

Virtually all states have budget deficits and extensive financial problems this year and beyond.  The states are also the custodians and administrators of multi billions of dollars of federal assistance programs. State policies related to hunger and poverty contain a great deal of state money that is in short supply right now but much more federal money that can grow as the use of the programs grows.

These state policy questions are meant to begin a conversation about how states can deliver more services to their citizens who are facing extreme long term unemployment, hunger, home foreclosures and loss of health insurance and pensions. 

1. Wisconsin does not have a Shared Work Program.  Why not?  Is there any effort to bring one to the state?

2. There is a 5% tax on non-prescription drugs sold in the state of Wisconsin. Most states exempt these products from sales tax. Is there any movement to do so in your state?

3. Wisconsin boasts the highest graduation rates in the country. While Midwest culture places a strong emphasis on education, do you believe the state government has had a role in underscoring the importance of schooling as well?

4. Despite having the highest high school graduation rate in the country (nearly 90%) Wisconsin ranks 36th in college enrollment. Is there not enough incentive for young adults to continue educational training?

5. SNAP participation among the working poor is especially high (75%) in Wisconsin. How has the program reached out to working families in need?

6. Wisconsin has one of the lowest proportions of its population uninsured. Less than 10% residents lack health insurance. What administrative aspects of the state health care program have made it so successful?

7. Has Wisconsin considered banning sugary drinks in schools as a means of curbing child obesity?

8. Wisconsin saw the number of participants in food stamp programs double since 2006. Was the state prepared to provide SNAP to so many citizens? Has the government been more effective at accessing eligible residents?

Please feel free to inform us of any mistakes we may have made in any of these questions. Also we would appreciate any comments on policies or statistics that might have been overlooked.

For detailed information, check out Wisconsin’s state rankings: