John Weishan
Press Release

Why the Small Vision For Milwaukee?

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop a major portion of our great American city.

By - Feb 19th, 2015 12:51 pm
BMO Harris Bradley Center

BMO Harris Bradley Center

Governor Scott Walker recently included in his 2015-17 budget a bond issue for construction of a new downtown arena within the confines of a few square blocks in downtown Milwaukee. Why not aim higher for the largest city and county in our state, home to one in five state residents?

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redevelop a major portion of our great American city.

This will require a bold new strategy that includes new ways to promote responsible growth through unified zoning and tax reform while putting the emphasis on empowering county government to transcend the chaos that rules the 19 municipalities that make up Milwaukee County.

Major action on issues such as transportation, street patterns and public buildings, commercial and residential real estate uses – and yes an arena – while preparing for future industrial growth will require more than half measures.

One million people of the state of Wisconsin living in Milwaukee County deserve the opportunity to control their own destiny. For almost a decade they have asked, including through referendum, for improved funding for parks and transit with little to no response from Madison.

We now have the opportunity of a lifetime. But because of anti-Milwaukee, anti-Milwaukee County politics in Madison, our opportunity continues to be diminished and may fade away entirely if we do not take bold action now.

To keep it simple for those in Madison, here is a bold new proposal that will transform our region. All the taxes collected in Milwaukee County should stay in Milwaukee County. All the revenue – from gas taxes, to income taxes, to vehicle registration, court fees and everything in between – stays in Milwaukee County in lieu of any state aid. In exchange, Milwaukee County is given full autonomy to make decisions regarding taxes and spending. This plan is the epitome of local control.

In recent years all local governments across the state have had to deal with the “state knows best” attitude that prevails in Madison, but none more than Milwaukee County.

We can no longer afford to be held back by the small-minded people in power in Madison who don’t understand Milwaukee and aren’t working for the greater good of our state and our local communities.

Milwaukee County is not begging for state help, we are only making a clear statement that we keep what is ours and that the state stay out of our way.

The challenge is Madison’s to accept. Free Milwaukee County to pursue its future without interference or continue to allow legislators to whine to their out-state constituents that all of Wisconsin’s problems are Milwaukee’s fault. We deserve better.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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13 thoughts on “Why the Small Vision For Milwaukee?”

  1. Tim says:

    It sounds like a great idea… WI has been fleecing the residents of Milwaukee County for years. But for the love of God, do not give this money to Milwaukee County government !!!!

    They have proven time & again that they are incapable of managing a parking structure, let alone a county of 1,000,000 residents, hundreds of thousands of jobs & millions of annual visitors.

    Give it to the city governments of Milwaukee County on a per-capita basis but please… do not fund the incompetant leadership of the Milwaukee County board.

    Now back in reality, the state will never hand over the cash… they’ll continue bleeding us dry.

  2. Orville Seymer says:

    Milwaukee county used to have the freedom and autonomy to make it’s own decisons and freedom to choose. What did they give us? A monumental Pension scandal over 10 years ago that is still costing taxpayers and now we have pension scandal #2 in which the county has been gving away millions of dollars in free taxpayer money even though they knew it was illegal. What was the answer to this monumental disaster, the county board and Sup. Wieshan being one of them votes to continue this mess and give away even more milions of dollars of ill gotten gains to Milwaukee county employees.

    Yes, at some point, the adults, in this case the state legislature has to step in and tell the children of the Milwaukee county board that they have to go up to there room for a time out and they cannot come back until they learn how to spend the taxpayers money wisely.

  3. David Ciepluch says:

    Milwaukee County residents and business have been funding the rest of the state for over 150 years. Sales tax collections that started in the 60s as a temporary tool continued this parasitic function of the rest of the state. There is more purchasing power per square foot in the poorest zip code in the state, 53206, than the highest economic region of Mequon.

    Milwaukee County would do fine without the rest of the state, and leave all tax and fee collection here.

  4. Kyle says:

    Let me see if I understand this: This member of the Milwaukee County Board wants Milwaukee County to secede from the State, and place his board in charge Milwaukee? Or is it just a half-secession, because Milwaukee would still elect State representatives but the State would have no control and no funding in Milwaukee’s jurisdiction? If the issue in the area is segregation and a lack of regional cooperation, this certainly seems to aggrivate both those issues.

  5. TR says:

    I think once the Bucks announce their plans the rest will take place. We still dont have an idea of where it will be and the design of it among other things. Once we have that we could and should build off of that. The Bucks need to stop playing around and get this rolling. We are wasting time here

  6. AG says:

    David Ciepluch, the poorest areas of Milwaukee are also the highest cost areas per ft in the state. A lot more money is spent “per foot” in 53206 than anywhere in Mequon. I don’t know how beneficial it is talking about purchasing power and taxpayers costs per foot is though.

    Still, I’d love to see a inflow/outflow comparison of state tax dollars that breaks down the net payers/payee’s by city and county.

  7. Justin Couperus says:

    The way this is written the author makes it sound like it’s the City of Madison that doesn’t want a new Bucks arena. I’m sure that wasn’t his intent but for someone reading this whom isn’t as well versed in the politics of The State it comes off as sounding like Madison is to blame. I live in Madison. Let’s be clear about one thing, what’s good for Milwaukee is good for Madison. We want a thriving Milwaukee just as much as Milwaukee wants it. Madison’s representatives in state government also want a thriving Milwaukee. A more descriptive text should have put the ball in the Republicans court. They are in control, not Madison. Believe me, we would love nothing more than to send them packing from their offices here in Madison.

  8. Casey says:

    @AG on a county bases Milwaukee County only receives 91 cents back for every dollar taxed. The city of Milwaukee is break even.

  9. Casey says:

    *the numbers I’m refering to are from a report which I believe is from ’10.
    5 years later I’m sure the numbrs are different but probably not significantly. I haven’t been able to locate a more current source.

  10. AG says:

    Thank you Casey. I suspected that was the case. Can you show me where to see this report? I’d love to see how the rest of the state works out.

  11. Casey says:

    Not to be lazy but only think it might be here. Sorry I don’t have the time currently to page through it.

  12. Casey says:

    If the above isn’t it you might be able to find the report here somewhere:

  13. AG says:

    That’s exactly what I was looking for! And fascinating… some counties and cities really get the shaft while others do quite well for themselves.

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