Friday, January 4, 2019

Milwaukee floundered under Walker/WisGOP. Evers wants to remove MKE's handcuffs

One thing I am looing forward to with the new Tony Evers Administration is that he says Wisconsin will have a new approach toward Wisconsin’s largest city. Notably, the new Dem governor will try to improve Milwaukee's chances of having adequate funding for its services, unlike what we've seen for the past few decades.
Evers says more tax dollars will go back into Milwaukee than did under Scott Walker.

He also wants to explore allowing Milwaukee to use other methods than property taxes to raise revenue.

"We're looking at maybe giving them some flexibility to raise revenue, but at the end of the day, we have to, you know, Milwaukee is a really important part of our state's economy, and our state's culture," Evers said. "We have to make sure property tax payers in Milwaukee aren't overburdened, and one of those ways is to find some flexibility for them."
That new “flexibility” may include giving Milwaukee the ability to levy a new sales tax, which would give them a better chance to pay for the services required of the state’s largest city. And given that Milwaukee County is by far the largest generator of tourism dollars of any county in Wisconsin, it only seems fair that they should be able to recoup more of the activity that comes from those tourists.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has said for years that the current “shared revenue and property tax” system of funding local government is insufficient for the needs of the state’s largest city. But any attempts to change the system to better fit Milwaukee’s situation was ignored by a GOP who relies on rural and suburban resentment of the big majority-minority city.
Barrett says the city police budget alone costs more than their property tax levy, and he's tried to get more options from the state for a decade.

"But it was like talking to a wall," Barrett said. "We would tell them this, and they would completely ignore us. Now, the new governor is listening."
Give them back the money they make for us!

It’s about damn time that the state’s largest city get a seat at the table when it comes to policymaking. Especially as Milwaukee badly trails the rest of the nation under the policies of Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP.That fact was reiterated again with this week’s release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report on jobs and unemployment in metro areas around America.

In the 12 months ending in November 2018 (the last month measured), the Milwaukee metro area had the third worst jobs record out of any of the top 50 metro areas in America.

Bottom 5 large metro areas for jobs, Nov 2017-Nov 2018
Detroit +12,800 (+0.63%)
St. Louis +7,800 (+0.56%)
Milwaukee +4,800 (+0.55%)
Buffalo +3,000 (+0.52%)
Louisville -1,100 (-0.16%)

That’s not a group of metros I think Milwaukee wants to be associated with. It’s equally bad if you throw Racine County into the mix, as they only added 400 jobs in the same time period (growth rate of +0.51%).

Milwaukee also continued to be well behind other Midwestern metros, as it did 2 months ago.

Nov 2017 - Nov 2018 job change, Midwest metros
Twin Cities, MN +35,300 (+1.76%)
Cleveland +30,800 (+2.90%)
Indianapolis +21,100 (+1.96%)
Cincinnati +20,100 (+1.82%)
Columbus, OH +16,800 (+1.53%)
Detroit +12,800 (+0.63%)
Des Moines +9,300 (+2.52%)
Madison +6,100 (+1.49%)
Milwaukee +4,800 +0.55%

But despite this ongoing record of failure, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has donated big bucks to keep WisGOP’s anti-Milwaukee agenda going. Take a look at what the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign had on the MMAC 18 months ago.
Republican legislative and statewide candidates have been the Milwaukee chamber’s chief beneficiaries, particularly Gov. Scott Walker. The governor has received about $1.5 million in campaign contributions and election backing through the group, which claims 1,800 Milwaukee-area business members.

The business group has given more than $1.9 million since 2010 to federal 527 electioneering groups, and almost all of that went to Republican groups, such the Republican Governors Association, which got $1,343,000 and the Republican State Leadership Committee, which got $406,000.

In addition to funneling money to outside electioneering groups, the Milwaukee business group’s political action committee (PAC) and conduit, which bundles direct individual donations to candidates, contributed nearly $154,000 between January 2010 and December 2016 to legislative and statewide candidates. The vast majority of the contributions, nearly $150,500, went to Republicans.
It’s well past time to tell Tim Sheehy and the rest of the mediocre fat cats at the right-wing MMAC to take a back seat, take the fiscal handcuffs off of Wisconsin’s largest city, and try something else when it comes to a SE Wisconsin economic strategy.

Let me add that SE Wisconsin was the area that shifted hardest against Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP in the 2018 elections – the people in metro Milwaukee want a change in direction in state policy.

So that electoral reality is another reason for Evers and Milwaukee’s Mandela Barnes to push for funding changes in an attempt to unlock the great potential of a city that is still the Economic Engine of the state. Not only is it likely to be more successful than the pro-corporate trickle-down BS that failed the city (and the rest of the state) over the last 8 years, but it’s something that voters in the most populous part of the state are asking for.


  1. The vindictiveness of Walker against Milwaukee went on for 8 years.The fact that Wisconsin Dells can tax tourists and Milwaukee can’t is telling. Walker and his party of Cons hated Milwaukee. It is astonishing that Walker will be living in the city that hates him so much.

    1. Actually, Walker’s vindictiveness against Milwaukee started in 2002 as County Executive. Luckily the County Board wasn’t in his pocket like the gerrymandered State Legislature was. Yes, it is indeed astonishing that he will apparently be calling Milwaukee home now, but then when you’re unemployed and desperate, you go where the jobs are.

      Maybe Scott Walker finally understands that Milwaukee is the economic engine that runs the state. Maybe he always understood, but was just a cynical prick. My guess is the latter.

    2. Cynical prick, for sure. Mr. "Divide and Conquer" has always cared more about riling up white racists in the metro area than improving the economy and livability of the Milwaukee area. It's central to WisGOP political strategy and what their spokespeople on AM radio talk about.

      What I don't understand is why Tim Sheehy and the rest of the greedheads at MMAC go along with it. Well, until you realize that MMAC (and WMC at the state level) only cares about rent-seeking and getting tax dollars for their inner circle, and doesn't care if everyone else falls behind as a result.

      My real question about Walker's new home is "Who's paying for it?" We know Scotty has spent all his money and is heavily in debt.

    3. That’s my biggest question, too. The only thing I can think is that one of his millionaire or corporate donors owns the building/property and they are letting him live there for free if he gives speeches for them. Or maybe just as a great big “thank you” for all he’s done for the wealthy.

  2. He could be just renting the condo. I did not realize that Walker was attacking Milwaukee for so long. I became acutely aware of him when he dropped the bomb. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a vindictive political sociopath like Walker. We rarely see the true Walker - he’s truly a control freak when it comes to messaging. Altthough he was forced off message with the pre-existing trap he fell into. His off message retort was to completely lie about protecting Badgers. Put yourself in his shoes - what kind of person thinks he can lie like this and get away with it. Sadly he bamboozled over a million people. Why are Badgers so easily manipulated. Is it a tribal thing? Win over ethics and morality?

  3. Everything Walker does is calculated. Locating in Milwaukee has a purpose.
    He certainly doesn’t seem to be short on cash for rather expensive tickets at MU games.