Through the lenses of Critical GIS and political economy, this paper examines the history of the Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP), which was created in 1989 and provides an early US example of the adoption of GIS at the local government level. Using a mixed methods approach and a case study design, the authors focus on the cooperation and conflicts among various actors and networks, at and between scales, during times of plentiful and lean resources. Catalyzed by the 1978 Larsen Report, the WLIP was unique in its inclusiveness of everyone involved in land records management. University academics brought together all the stakeholders to create a thematic and territorial network with political power and a unique funding mechanism. As land use planning and state budget deficits became prominent, the program became a target, leading to conflict and power struggles, particularly with the state Department of Administration (DOA). What began as an egalitarian, grass-roots, socially just, forward-thinking program has shape-shifted, and while the WLIP is still a viable and functioning program, its egalitarian goals have been subverted by economics.