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October 24, 2023

Move Forward MKE Coalition Honored by Wisconsin Policy Forum for Securing Local Revenue Reform to Avert Fiscal Cliff

Milwaukee County, City of Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Committee, and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce recognized for public-private sector partnership and cooperation

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Policy Forum is honoring the Move Forward MKE Coalition – headed by Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) – with the David G. Meissner Award for Public-Private Cooperation in successfully securing new local revenue tools and reforms in the bipartisan Wisconsin Act 12 that was recently signed into law. This recognition is part of the Wisconsin Policy Forum’s 2023 Salute to Local Government Awards that celebrate the positive impact of public sector ingenuity and excellence in communities throughout Wisconsin.

In June, both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature passed the bipartisan Wisconsin Act 12 to reform the state’s local revenue-sharing structure for the first time in over two decades. The legislation allowed Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee to raise additional revenues to address its unique financial challenges. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed the bipartisan legislation earlier this year.

In awarding the David G. Meissner Award for Public-Private Cooperation to the Move Forward MKE Coalition, the Wisconsin Policy Forum wrote, “The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are challenged by pension obligations that – when combined with unsustainable revenue structures – drove them to the edge of a fiscal cliff. Leaders from the city, county, and the region’s foremost business and civic organizations formed a public-private partnership, the Move Forward MKE Coalition, to seek a solution. For years, team members from the four principal organizations met every week, analyzing the problem and determining a local sales tax would be the best cure. Ultimately, the coalition broadened its approach and advocated for statewide solutions to widespread municipal budget challenges. This was instrumental in the June approval of Wisconsin Act 12, which increased shared revenue for all municipalities and counties and allowed the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to implement local sales tax increases to create new revenue streams and stave off financial ruin. This effort proves significant progress remains possible through collective advocacy, and accomplished something previously deemed impossible: a systemic overhaul of local government funding across Wisconsin.”

Both Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and Mayor Cavalier Johnson praised the public-private collaboration that was created through the Move Forward MKE Coalition for helping advance this legislative effort to avert financial crises at both the city and county.

“When I took office, my number one priority was to put Milwaukee County on the path to financial sustainability. The passage of Wisconsin Act 12 marked a historic step forward in that effort,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “Through the Move Forward MKE Coalition, Milwaukee County can now deploy meaningful investments for our residents and families, rather than determine what budget cuts would be the least harmful. By working collaboratively with the City of Milwaukee, GMC, and MMAC, we successfully secured this new revenue-generating tool, avoided what seemed like an inevitable fiscal catastrophe, and secured a brighter future for Milwaukee County. Thank you to the Wisconsin Policy Forum for recognizing our team and this major achievement that we worked together to make a reality.”

“The importance of what we achieved cannot be overstated. Now, local governments are well on the way to a sustainable fiscal future,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “Partnerships are always important, and the public-private teamwork that led to Wisconsin Act 12 was impressive. Move Forward MKE is certainly deserving of recognition.”

The GMC and MMAC also praised the work of the Move Forward MKE Coalition and the historic private-public partnership in successfully delivering this fiscal solution for the community.

“Our goal is for a healthy, growing region to be represented by fiscally strong governments so we can collectively transform the way we operate and deliver services,” said Joel Brennan, president of the GMC. “With the immediate and long-term priorities of everyone involved, this unprecedented partnership was a necessary step for us all to work towards a healthy, growing region.”

“This was truly a game-changing effort. Our region’s future is more secure with a bright economic future because of the work of this public/private partnership,” said MMAC President Tim Sheehy.

The Move Forward MKE Coalition will be recognized at the Wisconsin Policy Forum’s 2023 Salute to Local Government Awards on November 15, 2023. Learn more HERE.


(414) 278-4211 | fax: (414) 223-1375
Milwaukee County Courthouse, Room 306
901 N. 9th Street | Milwaukee, WI 53233

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