'Boot on our neck': Milwaukee County board committee responds to GOP-led shared revenue proposal

’Boot on our neck’: Milwaukee County board committee responds to GOP-led shared revenue proposal

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- On Monday, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors took concrete steps to respond to the Republican-led state Legislature's shared revenue proposal.

In a meeting of the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations, some county supervisors likened the plan to a hostage situation and decried the state for not allowing the county to control its own purse strings.

Most members of the committee were highly critical of the plan they say would severely limit how the county can spend the revenue shared by the state. Community members were also highly critical during the public comment section of the meeting.

Supervisor Ryan Clancy called it a garbage plan with terrible details. He said, "We are tired of subsidizing the rest of the state, and having a boot on our neck while we try to meet the needs of our people."

Most supervisors want the county to retain control of its own funding.

District 11 Supervisor Kathleen Vincent said, "Only we know best what Milwaukee County needs. The state of Wisconsin does not walk in our shoes."

Milwaukee's shared revenue has been frozen for 20 years. And county supervisors say that impacts real people.

District 15 Supervisor Peter Burgelis said, "Milwaukee requires significant investment for seniors, veterans, housing, mental health, and transit."

Community members said the current proposal hurts funding for families, young people, and mental health services; impacts clean water, shelter, and nutrition; and affects health care, education, and the parks system.

Tiffany Stark, a social worker & community activist, said, "The state legislators rather hold us hostage."

A community activist who goes by the name T Man said, "Milwaukee has been bailing out Wisconsin for the last 20 years because we have not been getting our fair share."

And community member Ron Jansen said, "When the state attempts to pass such measures, they mock us as residents, but they also mock you as supervisors."

Supervisor Felisia Martin said treating counties differently equates to egregious discrimination. She added, "We're drowning here. And we need to be able to take care of our own."

But not all committee members agreed, which led to contentious moments at times. Committee Vice Chair Steve Taylor supported the proposal, agreeing with state Republican leaders that the county has not been fiscally responsible.

Taylor said, "There've been poor decisions for decades. Decades. And that's why some feel that having certain guardrails are necessary."

But despite disagreeing on how to get the revenue, all committee members agreed the county needs more of it.

Committee Chair Sequanna Taylor said, "When Milwaukee wins and prospers, so does the state of Wisconsin."

The resolution opposing the state's shared revenue plan passed the committee 4-1 with Vice Chair Steve Taylor opposing.

It will now go to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote, where members expect it will pass.

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