For years, MMAC has worked tirelessly for increased shared revenue, local sales tax, equitable funding for education.
“We applaud Gov. Tony Evers, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and their respective chambers for the hard work and collaboration they displayed in getting these groundbreaking items to the finish line. We look forward to the Governor’s quick signature of these historic pieces of legislation,” said MMAC President Tim Sheehy. “While the political philosophies of those coming to the table differed, good governance resulted in decisions being made in the state’s best interests."
For two decades, a freeze in state-shared revenue has hamstrung municipalities and their ability to provide basic services to their residents. The bi-partisan legislation passed sets a new floor of a 20 percent increase for all municipalities and counties, except for Milwaukee and Dane counties. Milwaukee will receive a 10 percent increase in shared revenue and will gain access to additional revenue raised through a local sales tax.
In the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, stagnant funding from the state coupled with rising costs of pension liabilities has led to cuts for both governing bodies. “The freeze in state-shared revenue to the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County has led to decisions that impact public safety and the quality of life for residents and visitors,” said Sheehy. “This increased funding is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the region’s fiscal issues.”
Milwaukee for many years, has been one of the very few large cities in the U.S. unable to enact a local sales tax without the approval of the state legislature. The passage of this legislation gives the city and Milwaukee County that ability to enact a sales tax by a two-thirds enabling local vote of both the county board and common council.
The legislation that passed with bi-partisan support will allow the city to levy a 2 percent sales tax on top of its existing 5.5 percent sales tax. The county will have the ability to add a .4 percent sales tax.
The additional revenue can be used to fund public safety and pension liabilities.
“New sales tax revenue for the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, coupled with an increase in state-shared revenue, is a clear-and-present solution to the fiscal cliff both bodies were facing if nothing had been done,” said Sheehy. “These new streams of revenue provide the region fiscal solvency and make it more attractive to potential residents and businesses looking to make a move.”
Education funding equity
The education funding legislation that passed also had bi-partisan support and provided a big win for all K-12 students across the state. In particular, the gap in spending between public school students and those attending choice or charter schools will decrease significantly.
“These increases create a more equitable playing field for students regardless of the school they attend,” said Sheehy. “More resources will result in a larger number of students prepared for life after school, and a richer pool of talent for employers in the region.”