Project for 21st Century Federalism

The Project for 21st Century Federalism is the Badger Institute's multi-year investigation of the growth in federal grants and their effect on state and local governance. The project was launched in September 2016.

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State distribution of federal funds requires accountability, transparency

Badger Institute Public Affairs Associate David Fladeboe submitted written testimony in favor of 2021 AB 149 before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics on March 10, 2021.

2021 AB 149 would increase the Legislature's role in approving the expenditure of federal funds related to COVID-19.

The Hop: Federal monies create a ‘financial anvil’ for Milwaukee

As streetcar ridership and funding dwindle, alderman warns of long-term fiscal burden
By Mark Lisheron
November 23, 2020

Stealing from our children

Sen. Ron Johnson's wake up call for a new era of federal spending insanity and its consequences
By Michael Jahr

State-Local Spending in Wisconsin

Context and Trends
By Todd A. Berry
April 2019

Federal Grant$tanding book

How federal grants are depriving us of our money, liberty and trust in government - and what we can do about it. New book by the Badger Institute urges states to push back.
September 2018

Another reason new federal law should prompt Wisconsin tax reform

A whole lot more Wisconsinites are about to feel the sting of high state and local taxes (SALT) in ways they never have before — a fact that will lead either to a whole lot more dissatisfaction with elected officials or to substantive tax reform in Madison.
By Jay Miller
July 26, 2018

Sunshine Week: Records request illustrates lack of transparency of federal school funding

It would seem a simple question to ask of any public agency: How much money do you spend and on what? But when the Badger Institute wanted to know about federal funding of school districts around the state, getting answers was more difficult than we imagined.
By Dan Benson
March 16, 2018

Private school principals say federal funding process is flawed

Special needs students are left behind because of inequitable allocation of federal resources, administrators say in Badger Institute survey.
By Julie Grace
March 13, 2018

New federal tax law should prod Wisconsin to enact tax reform

Residents in high-tax states like ours are stung harder by cap on state/local tax deduction.
By Jay Miller
February 20, 2018

Teachers want to help kids, not do paperwork

Federal requirements in special ed are especially burdensome, educators tell Badger Institute in survey.
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
January 25, 2018

Educators decry feds' heavy-handed approach toward local schools

"I have to do a lot of paperwork and spend time testing my kids instead of teaching my kids."
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
January 25, 2018

Wisconsin school officials want federal role in local education reduced

Funding regulations hamper districts and don’t improve education, local officials say in Badger Institute survey.
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
December 12, 2017

Invasion of the federal bean counters

Hordes of Wisconsin government workers are employed to "check boxes" for the feds.
By Dave Daley
November 13, 2017

Schools hire pricey specialists to deal with federal grant rules

Paperwork takes staff away from daily responsibilities and educating kids, officials say.
By Julie Grace
November 13, 2017

Cutting federal grants can be political suicide for elected officials

Effort to scrap popular Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a case study in how difficult it is to reduce spending.
By Dave Daley
November 1, 2017

Betsy DeVos vows to free local educators from paperwork

U.S. education secretary also plans to give them more say over federal school dollars.
By Dan Benson
October 4, 2017

Federal rules distort local education policy

School officials make decisions they wouldn’t make otherwise to comply with funding requirements.
By Julie Grace and Dan Benson
September 12, 2017

WI legislators missing opportunity to take control of education

ESSA could offer opportunities for state to involve districts in decision-making.
By Julie Grace and Dan Benson
September 12, 2017

Follow the money: Federal grants are the key to constraining bureaucracy

Grants-in-aid represent more than 1,100 federal aid programs, each with its own rules and regulations.
By Dan Benson
May 11, 2017

HUD leaves unanswered key questions regarding tribe’s use of federal funds

St. Croix Chippewa agree to fix grants review process.
By Dave Daley
March 7, 2017

The bureaucratic 'skim' of federal school funding

Managing federal education dollars is costing Wisconsin taxpayers millions and benefiting children hardly at all.
By Dan Benson and Dave Daley
February 15, 2017

The federalization of Wisconsin DPI

Washington’s grip on state schools continues to grow.
By Dan Benson and Dave Daley
January 24, 2017

Governing local is governing best

Data show people of all political persuasions also favor a govern local approach to solving many of our problems.
By Dan Benson
November 15, 2016

Analysis: Cash-strapped school districts burdened by federal grant regulations

Hundreds of districts in Wisconsin and thousands more nationwide are saddled with the Single Audit of federal funds that feeds a bloated bureaucracy in Washington while adding little or no value to educational efforts.
By Dan Benson
October 11, 2016

West Allis school district weaning itself from some federal money

“Our philosophy used to be procure (funding) and then figure out how to use (the money),” Director of Business Services Andy Chromy said.
By Dan Benson
October 11, 2016

St. Croix Chippewa members have decried council secrecy for years

As sovereign nations, tribes are not subject to state open records and open meetings laws as are Wisconsin’s municipal governments, school boards and other boards.
By Dave Daley
September 15, 2016

Tribes in Wisconsin and across the U.S. misusing millions in federal housing funds

In recent years, more than a dozen Indian tribes from North Carolina to Wisconsin to California have come under fire for using federal housing funds to treat tribal officials to lavish vacations, gifts and cash advances for personal expenses, a WPRI review has found.
By Dave Daley
September 15, 2016

While poverty persists for St. Croix Chippewa, tribe officials misuse federal funds, audit shows

Dozens of families have at times languished on waiting lists for housing assistance, and in 2014 and 2015 federal audits show tribal housing officials loaned themselves housing money without proper oversight.
By Dave Daley
September 15, 2016

Milwaukee streetcar operations not fully funded

The predicament in which the city finds itself is the result of letting the prospect of “free” federal money determine local policy.
By Dan Benson
August 9, 2016

Study counts the cost of 'free' federal money

About one-third of all state spending today originates in Washington, D.C., dramatically increasing the influence of the federal government on state spending priorities.
By Dan Benson
February 3, 2016

Walker still has chance to embrace federalism

The proliferation of grants-in-aid has driven up federal and state spending and taxes, hampered the prosperity and independence of Wisconsin’s citizens and ultimately moved America dangerously closer to centrally controlled governance.
By Mike Nichols
October 1, 2015

Understanding School Finance in Wisconsin: A Primer

Report gives readers a base level of knowledge of school finance to help them better understand key issues surrounding Wisconsin's education system.
By Mike Ford
May 2013

An Essential Turnaround Project: The Reform of State Government Operations

The result of antiquated management practices has often been failure of state government to control costs and operate efficiently, according to the study.
By Robin Gates
June 2011

Cooperation Not Consolidation

The answer for Milwaukee governance
By Sammis White, Ph.D.
November 2002