Megan Stritchko (MPA ’09)

The La Follette School was recommended to me by an alum. I was drawn to the coursework that could develop my quantitative skills and to the wide variety of elective courses that I could choose from. I knew that I wanted to use my MPA in public service and was drawn to the La Follette School as the embodiment of the Wisconsin Idea.

Pushing the Limits: Factors Contributing to Passage of Municipal Levy Referenda

Wisconsin municipalities rely heavily on the property tax to fund public services, such as street maintenance, police and fire protection, and parks and recreation. In 2005, the state enacted levy limits, or a restriction on the amount of additional revenue a municipality could raise through the property tax. Wisconsin municipalities can exceed their levy limit, but they must ask residents to increase their property taxes via a direct referendum. This report for The League of Wisconsin Municipalities examines the characteristics that contribute to successful levy-limit referenda.

Work Perks: Policies Helping Small Businesses Offer Employee Benefits

Small businesses are vital to the State of Wisconsin, but many small businesses struggle to attract and retain workers because they cannot provide access to high-quality, affordable health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid leave. This report reviews a range of policy alternatives that can enhance the ability of small businesses to provide benefits to employees. There is no silver bullet for addressing the concerns of all small businesses in providing benefits, but there are a range of options that policymakers can explore to help small businesses in Wisconsin.

Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism: Localization in Kenya, Kosovo, and the Philippines

The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) supports local initiatives in vulnerable communities around the world to help strengthen their resilience to violent extremism. This report utilizes case studies of Kenya, Kosovo, and the Philippines to analyze how each country incorporates local level actors within their respective National Action Plan (NAP) to prevent and counter violent extremism. To understand local efforts, we completed a three-step analysis. First, we performed a literature review covering both decentralization and decision space analysis. Next, we reviewed each NAP, giving a summary of the plan, its goals, and the stakeholders involved. Finally, we developed a qualitative coding schema to comprehensively assess NAPs in terms of best practices laid out by the United Nations. The analysis suggests GCERF can strengthen their local effectiveness by focusing on the following policy initiatives: promoting empowerment, supporting capacity building, and connecting with development agencies and NGO’s to improve decentralization outcomes.

Climate Change & Child Poverty in OECD Countries

Climate change has wide-ranging negative effects on public infrastructure, socio-economic and demographic inequality, and physical and mental health outcomes. Children in poverty are at highest risk of experiencing these impacts. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development requested the completion of an analysis mapping out the connection between climate change, child poverty in wealthy nations, and childhood development. We propose policy options to ameliorate potential high-risk harms to children in poverty living in OECD countries from climate change and mitigation of climate change. We also identify gaps in literature and research that should be pursued to better understand this urgent issue.