Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb hoping to move forward from contentious budget debate

NOW: Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb hoping to move forward from contentious budget debate

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors Chairman Theo Lipscomb is hopeful to move on from a contentious budget battle with County Executive Chris Abele.

"Even after the budget passed he's continuing to threaten people with a cut in funding," Lipscomb told CBS 58 News Tuesday.

In a 15-3 vote, the board approved the $1.1 billion which takes effect January,2018 and amounts to a property tax increase or a tax rate of $5.04 for $1,000.

The board rejected Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele's proposal to raise the wheel tax to $60 to pay for transit and road projects.

After the budget passed Abele issued a statement saying he wouldn't sign  the budget because:

"Some of these cuts include, unfortunately, deep reductions for transit, the elimination of the successful UpLift MKE program that provides job training and placement in 53206, the closure of the Schulz Aquatic Center and sea lion show at the zoo, the cancellation of important road improvements, cuts to public safety funding for the medical examiner, paramedic training, the district attorney, sheriff, and house of correction, and cuts to social service funding that supports our most vulnerable residents."

When asked if the Schulz Aquatic Center would close, Lipscomb said he felt it was a personalized attack and that the center, which is in his district, will not close.

Lipscomb says each department, including the board itself should be able to spread the reductions without the dramatic cuts that have been bandied about during the push for doubling the wheel tax.

"They don't need to slash a program," Lipscomb said. "They can save a little in a lot of different places to get to one percent."

Lipscomb said he just didn't feel comfortable with doubling the wheel tax after they had raised it $30 dollars a year earlier and after a referendum showed 72% of voters didn't support it.

As for the harsh rhetoric and campaign like ads criticizing his plan that was paid for through the Abele campaign fund, Lipscomb said this.

"I think part of that is he is a little out of touch with what normal people the types of choices normal people make. They make adjustments when they don't have enough money .And it's not easier to just ask for more. When that hasn't been your life experience, you come at it from a little different angle."

CBS 58 News has extended an invitation for the County Executive or a representative from his office to also be a guest on the CBS 58 News at 4. 

Theo Lipscomb Web Extra from CBS 58 News on Vimeo.

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