Milwaukee County municipalities hellbent on a 200% sales tax increase

Let’s be clear. That cockamamie idea to increase the sales tax in Milwaukee County by 1 percentage point via referendum is going nowhere. Nowhere. Republicans that control the state Legislature that would have to approved the proposal will have none of it.

So why is there an agenda item on tomorrow’s Franklin Common Council meeting about the plan? And why are all 19 municipalities in Milwaukee in support?

Read the above title of this blog again.

The dollar signs have them drooling.

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC) met last week but did not vote on an endorsement of a binding referendum to increase the Milwaukee County sales tax from .5 to 1.5%. Another council meeting is set for Sept. 23 at St. Francis City Hall to consider an endorsement.

“It may get unanimous support,” Franklin Mayor Steve Olson told the Milwaukee Business Journal.

It should be noted that the council’s chairman, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy reportedly said a sales tax increase was one of a number of ideas the council unanimously approved in February.


The full state Legislature must act on and approves putting a referendum to Milwaukee County voters, possibly by April 2020.

What happens to the money

The bill requires that 25 percent of the revenue from the additional be used to provide residential property tax relief. Honestly? Truly? If you believe that….

Seven percent will go to fund infrastructure projects. I repeat. Honestly? There’s no guarantee how the money will be spent.

What about the other 68 percent? The county would use half for its operational and capital expenses. The other half would be distributed to the municipalities based on population.

Who gets what?

The total increased revenue would be $55 million. Under a table presented by the city of Franklin it’s estimated the city of Milwaukee would receive $34.5 million resulting in $12.5 million in property tax relief.

Franklin would receive the 5th highest total at $2 million resulting in $747, 387 in property tax relief.


Under this proposal $10 million  would go to lead abatement in the city of Milwaukee. Back in April the Milwaukee County district attorney confirmed that there is an ongoing local and state criminal investigation into the Milwaukee Health Department over their handling of the city’s lead crisis. Why should county taxpayers bail the city out?

The goal

The Journal Sentinel reports “the effort is aimed at averting a fiscal crisis.” Love that. And who’s responsible for the county’s “fiscal crisis?” Not the un-elected taxpayers.

Do the math

Going from .5% to 1.5% is a 200% hike.

Who gets hurt?

The sales tax is a regressive tax. A regressive tax may at first appear to be a fair way of taxing because everyone, regardless of income level, pays the same dollar amount. However, such a tax causes lower-income people to pay a larger share of their income than wealthier people pay.

Let the voters decide

Clever. That makes it look like the elected folks are not responsible. Be wary of anyone in office who says pubicly the voters deserve a say. Translation: Deep down inside they want a tax increase.

Do you want to contact your state legislators about this issue?

You can find your legislators and their contact information by entering your address here. Ask them to oppose this 200% tax increase that has the eyes of the tax and spenders as big as saucers.



One thought on “Milwaukee County municipalities hellbent on a 200% sales tax increase

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Milwaukee County municipalities hellbent on a 200% sales tax increase | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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