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Milwaukee County looking at ways to fix financial crisis

NOW: Milwaukee County looking at ways to fix financial crisis

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Milwaukee County leaders admit they have a financial crisis on their hands. The deficit is projected to grow more than $79.8M by 2023. But, leaders got one step closer to finding a solution Thursday night.

The Fair Deal for Milwaukee County workshop presented recommendations of legislative solutions to Milwaukee County’s revenue crisis Thursday.

“If we don't change here and quickly at the county, we are not going to be able to provide the level of services or anything close to what people are paying for and what they deserve,” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

The committee is looking at solutions for issues like the $500 million to $1 billion needed to fix places like county parks, the courthouse, Mitchell Park Domes, Marcus Center, buses and roads.

“We've been able to hold a lot of huge cuts for a while, but our parks deserve more, our departments deserve more, the public we serve deserves more,” Abele said.

But, that could mean raising the sales tax.

“There are a lot of things in state law that tell us what we can't do, the effect of that is that we can't face the fiscal challenges that we have without some change in state law,” Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb Sr. said.

The committee feels confident with new state leadership.

“Milwaukee is a really important part of our state's economy and our state's culture. We have to make sure property taxpayers in Milwaukee aren't overburdened,” Governor Tony Evers said on January 2.

The committee says the recommendations of legislative solutions are just the start of fixing the county’s financial problems. The next step will be for it to go to the intergovernmental relations committee, then to the board of supervisors, and eventually... make its way to Madison.  

“This isn't an end point, this is a beginning point,” Abele said.

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