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County Budget Battle: Executives disagree over cutting programs or raising taxes

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is sounding the alarm about huge potential cuts to county programs.

The County Executive says under County Board Chairman Lipscomb's proposal - five county senior centers, The Domes, Boerner Botanical Gardens, and the "Needy Veterans Fund" could see funding cuts along with bus routes and the Go Pass program.

The Chairman says he wants the cuts because the county simply can't afford the County Executive's proposed increased budget.

County Executive Chris Abele says the county is short on funds. He proposed a 5% increase over last year's budget asking this year for 1.16 billion. County board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb says he won't pass a budget that burdens taxpayers.

"He has raised the wheel tax, user fees, parking revenue. All of that without the assumption that he won't have to tighten his belt," said Lipscomb.

Lipscomb says the solution isn't raising fees and doubling the Wheel Tax. Abele says an increase is overdue and without the additional Wheel Tax and fee sto other county services, major budget cuts could cause community centers and parks to close.

"I don't like the idea of a vehicle registration fee, the problem is we have costs, costs that have been growing at the county for years, last year we told supervisors if you don't include the vehicle registration fee, we suggested last year, we are going to have to make huge cuts," said Abele.

There is one thing both sides agree on, shared revenues. They say the state needs to either send us more or take less from the county.

"You taxpayers in Milwaukee county give $215 million more to the state, state budget going up, what we sent to the state going up, and what we get back from the state going down," said Abele.

There will be a public meeting on October 30 to discuss the county budget at the Marcus Center at 6:30 p.m.

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