Milwaukee County officials sign resolution in support of local sales tax increase
MILWAUKEE COUNTY (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County is facing a budget shortfall of tens of millions of dollars next year. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, county leaders sent a message to state lawmakers about how they want to solve the problem by raising taxes.
During Tuesday's meeting, a resolution was signed asking for support of two state bills that would allow voters locally to approve a one-percent sales tax increase through a referendum.
The resolution was signed by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore Lipscomb.
Abele says next year's $1.2 billion county budge has a shortfall of $28 million and the sales tax increase would help sustain the county and avoid cuts to services and employees. He says five years from now, the budget gap is projected to be $79 million.
According to Abele, if passed, the one-percent sales tax increase would generate $160 million each year. He says a large amount of that money would go toward lowering property taxes, which he says Wisconsin is in the top five in the country.
"When I show the State Department of Revenue showing that hey Milwaukee County we're sending close to half-a-billion in 2019 more to the state than we were just 10 years ago, and what we're getting back is basically flat. I like to think I'm a good manager and I have cut and cut and cut and found efficiencies and partnerships in revenue. I mean I've pulled every lever I can but I'm not a magician and the cuts are going to keep coming if we don't get a solution," Abele said.
If state lawmakers pass the bills, Abele says the one-percent sales tax could be on the ballot as early as April in Milwaukee County.