By Nyesha Stone
Local elected officials and leaders met earlier this week to propose a way to create a new revenue for Milwaukee County and its 19 municipalities.
During the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council monthly meeting, leadership from the 19 municipalities had a chance to provide their thoughts on how to generate revenue.
Ultimately, Rep. Evan Goyke and Sen. La Tonya Johnson, in partnership with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, local business leaders and elected officials, announced a proposed 1 percent local option sales tax that would be reinvested into the community through property tax relief, and countywide priorities, according to a press release.
With this new plan, Milwaukee County tax payers would have the option to raise the sales tax to 6.5 percent—the proposed tax would not be added to essential items, which includes groceries, pharmaceuticals and equipment.
Abele said a solution is needed now, otherwise services are going to continue to be cut.
“We need a solution so we can get the government you deserve,” said Abele.
The proposed plan could bring in an extra $160 million in the first year, with more than 25 percent of the income projected to come from visitors and non-residents, according to the press release.
Additional revenue is expected to be used for local priorities, which include the reduction of property taxes, investments in municipal facilities, community assets and services, and addressing capital projects and deferred maintenance.
Back in 2018, Milwaukee County officials including Abele and County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, launched the Fair Deal Workgroup to explore new revenue options to address the structural deficit. The Fair Deal Workgroup proposed allowing for local control to generate new revenue, among other things.
To really push for new revenues, local governments in Milwaukee County came together to create Move Forward Milwaukee. The group focused on finding a solution, which is what the proposed one percent increase is.
“Our local governments need the opportunity to realize a portion of the return on investment they’ve made in building strong communities,” said Wisconsin State Representative Evan Goyke of District 18.
For more information on Move Forward MKE, visit https://www.moveforwardmke.com/.