Time to create new local sales tax for public safety Statement
Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan - May 10, 2017
Something has got to change!
I love Milwaukee and it pains me to see what’s happening to more and more neighborhoods. But my job as an elected official is to be upfront with my constituents and to tell it like it is.
So here I go…
It’s true that no politician wants to champion an increase in taxes, but I am compelled to do just that because of the dire public safety circumstances the City of Milwaukee is faced with.
I am calling for the creation of a half-cent sales tax in Milwaukee – solely dedicated to funding public safety. I believe $40 million could be raised annually by the sales tax to fund additional police officers, firefighters and vital resources to help bolster our public safety. I believe that money would go a long way in closing the gap and making our city safer.
The repeated decreases in officer staffing in the ranks of the Milwaukee Police Department, coupled with major increases in certain crimes (car-jacking, car thefts, armed robberies, etc.) have led to many neighborhoods in Milwaukee losing control and becoming much less safe.
I could go down the list and talk about prostitution, drug dealing, and reckless driving, as well. These crimes are no longer under control in many neighborhoods, because of a lack of officers. The police presence is simply no longer there, or at a reduced level that fails to deter many people from committing certain crimes.
Again, I will say that the police staffing shortage we face is not the only problem we have that is related to our justice system. But, I believe police officers play a vital role in providing order and stability in our neighborhoods.
I believe we simply must have a serious conversation about how we pay for public safety in Milwaukee. We need to weigh the pros and cons, and I am fully aware that all of the questions won’t be answered in this statement.
We also need to change the ongoing narrative between the city and the state when it comes to crime and public safety. It seems too often the city points the finger at the Governor and Legislature, and then the finger is pointed right back at the city by the Governor and state lawmakers.
In a related piece of news, I understand that the mayor will meet with the Governor today to go over the city’s finances. I really hope the subject of a half-cent sales tax for public safety comes up during those discussions.
It is high time to end the gridlock (between the city and state), because the people suffering the most are our constituents.
Last, a sales tax increase dedicated to public safety just makes sense: Milwaukee is a major tourist destination drawing visitors year-round to museums, events and festivals, concerts, and professional sporting events – just to name a few. Visitors from the suburbs and from other states enjoy the protection of our police and fire services while they are here, and it is time that we capture or recoup something from them (in the form of the half-cent sales tax) for those services.
We owe it to our constituents to have this important public policy discussion begin today.
- The State of Politics: The Debate Over Local Sales Taxes - Steven Walters - Feb 22nd, 2021
- Evers’ Budget Proposal Would Allow Milwaukee Sales Tax - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 12th, 2021
- WCA Applauds Governor Evers’ Sales Tax Option - Wisconsin Counties Association - Feb 12th, 2021
- MMAC Encourages Support for Evers Sales Tax Proposal - Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce - Feb 12th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Proposes Plan to Enhance Local Control, Bolster Local Communities’ Economic Recovery - Gov. Tony Evers - Feb 12th, 2021
- The State of Politics: Milwaukee Leaders Plead for 1% Sales Tax - Steven Walters - Mar 16th, 2020
- County Sales Tax Legislation Gets Hearing - Graham Kilmer - Mar 5th, 2020
- ‘Fair Deal’ Sales Tax Referendum Blocked From April Ballot - Corri Hess - Jan 30th, 2020
- Transportation: Bauman Wants 1.5 Percent Sales Tax - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 26th, 2019
- Review Board to Discuss Recent Sales Tax Proposal and its impact on Public Transit - Ald. Bob Bauman - Sep 23rd, 2019
Read more about 1 Percent Sales Tax Proposal here
Recent Press Releases by Ald. Bob Donovan
Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan - March 9, 2020
A Long-Term Solution to Reckless Driving Will Require Leadership
Statement from Alderman Bob Donovan February 12, 2020