Milwaukee leaders propose increase in sales tax

NOW: Milwaukee leaders propose increase in sales tax

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee leaders say they want to raise the sales tax in the county, and they want voters to be able to weigh in on a referendum. 

In order to get that referendum on the ballot, they need the state legislature's permission. If it happens, it could lower property taxes.

A group of leaders from the county made the announcement Monday. They want a one-percent increase in sales tax. 

They said it would generate $160 million in the first year.

A quarter of that money would go towards property tax relief, and the rest would go towards other priorities. 

In Milwaukee, Mayor Barrett says it would cover essential services.

"Next year I would be using this money to make sure we don't have severe cuts in our police department, to make sure we can buy an additional vehicle for the fire department, and to do more paving of the streets," Barrett said. "That's something that I'll take to any neighborhood in this city."

The tax would not include things like groceries and other essential services. This faces an uphill battle if it wants to pass the Republican-controlled legislature. 

If it does, they want the referendum on the spring ballot. 

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