May 12, 2023
What They’re Saying: County Executive Crowley Has Changed the Conversation
Crowley making progress in talks for long-term fiscal fix to protect critical county services
MILWAUKEE, WI – This week, the Wisconsin State Assembly Committee on Local Government passed significant legislation enabling Milwaukee County to enact a local option sales tax to address its unique financial challenges and avoid a fiscal cliff in a few short years. Since the local revenue reform proposal was unveiled in late April, lawmakers on all sides continue to work towards a final deal that meets the needs of every community across the state.
The historic proposal promises to be the largest increase in aid for local governments in a generation, provide a long-term solution for Milwaukee County’s outsized pension burdens, and increase resources for critical services including critical needs along the entire public safety continuum.
Here’s what they’re saying about the first local revenue reform in over a generation and how it will affect Milwaukee County’s future:
Milwaukee Business Journal: Johnson, Crowley have changed the conversation
“Several of the state's top Republicans have been singing the praises of Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley due to the new attitude and willingness to work together they have brought to the jobs they have taken over in recent years […] There are still many areas of disagreement between the two sides, but the fact that they are talking and trying to work together is a good sign for the betterment of the city and the entire state.”
BizTimes: Viewpoints: Why a sales tax for Milwaukee County, and why elected officials should vote on it
“Milwaukee County is not only home to 928,000 residents, but it draws in millions of visitors to attend the cultural, arts and entertainment assets that call Milwaukee County home. Most importantly, it is the hub of the five-county regional economy. Some $7.6 billion in personal income is earned in Milwaukee County by residents who live in Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee and Racine counties. This income is exported out of Milwaukee County for these residents to spend on homes, schooling and other goods and services in their home counties.The regional economy relies on the relationship of this talent base and the employers in Milwaukee County. No other county has this interdependence, nor an export of net personal income. Left unchecked, Milwaukee’s fiscal crisis will not be self-contained.”
Milwaukee Magazine: How Milwaukee City and County Got to the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff
“Those lawmakers – the Republicans who still control the Legislature – remain the decisive audience to persuade. Johnson and Crowley have wooed them tirelessly, capitalizing on good will from the city’s agreement to host their party’s 2024 national convention. Signs of movement have slowly emerged, such as when Assembly Speaker Robin Vos joined the local leaders at a January swearing-in ceremony for new GOP Rep. Bob Donovan, the former Milwaukee alderman who lost mayoral races to Barrett and Johnson. If a sales tax increase is approved, Crowley says, it would give local officials another incentive to boost the local economy, and Wisconsin’s economy with it.”
WTMJ @TheTable: Is Wisconsin on the brink of big changes in shared revenue?
"What it means for taxpayers is that we're going to be able to address Milwaukee's pension problems which are which are large, but more importantly, that the city is going to be able to deliver and the county is going to be able to deliver the services that we all use, public safety, police and fire, parks."
WISN: Milwaukee sales tax increase seen as budget solution
“For years, Milwaukee city and county leaders have lobbied the state for a bigger slice of state sales tax proceeds, known as shared revenue. Now, a possible solution is proposed by the State Assembly. The plan would allow the city to impose a 2% sales tax and Milwaukee County to add its own .375% sales tax increase on top of the existing .5% county sales tax.”
The MoveForwardMKE Coalition continues to work with lawmakers in Madison on a final deal on local revenue reform. Visit the MoveForwardMKE website for additional information on the legislation, answers to common questions, and sign-up for email updates from coalition members.