Milwaukee could receive more state dollars, higher sales tax, under Evers
Governor-elect Tony Evers said he wants to give Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett something that's been a major priority for a decade, more state money.
In an interview with CBS58, Evers outlined his plans for the state budget he plans to unveil in late February, and changes to shared revenue for local government was on the list.
Evers said his based his winning gubernatorial campaign on three main issues.
"The people of Wisconsin spoke," Evers said. "They said education, transportation, and healthcare were their priorities.
Evers wants to spend $1.4 billion more on education. He said he can do this without raising taxes. Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he would "never commit to that number," but Evers is sticking to it.
"I have not tapered that expectation," Evers said. "We've been working with the budget office and crafting a budget, and crafting a budget, and i believe that at the end of the day, we will be asking for $1.4 billion."
Evers says more tax dollars will go back into Milwaukee than did under Scott Walker.
He also wants to explore allowing Milwaukee to use other methods than property taxes to raise revenue.
"We're looking at maybe giving them some flexibility to raise revenue, but at the end of the day, we have to, you know, Milwaukee is a really important part of our state's economy, and our state's culture," Evers said. "We have to make sure property tax payers in Milwaukee aren't overburdened, and one of those ways is to find some flexibility for them."
Barrett says the city police budget alone costs more than their property tax levy, and he's tried to get more options from the state for a decade.
"But it was like talking to a wall," Barrett said. "We would tell them this, and they would completely ignore us. Now, the new governor is listening."
Barrett says his first option would be getting more tax dollars back from state government.
"Number two is getting a local sales tax option to deal not just with public safety, but with a wide range of issues that we have here."
As for the series of lame duck bills republicans passed to limit the office of the governor and restrict early voting, Evers says he expects them to be challenged in court.
"Clearly, many people feel that some of the decisions that the legislature made were unconstitutional, and my guess is that they will be challenged."
Evers says he doesn't plan on personally suing over those new laws. Republicans plan to write their own, separate budget, so it's unclear how many of Evers proposals will pass.