MILWAUKEE – A showdown between Mayor Cavalier Johnson and the Milwaukee Common Council is looming over the question of raising the local sales tax.
At stake are publicly funded initiatives like first responders and libraries. They will stay open with help from the proposed 2.4% sales tax increase. Editor in Chief Milwaukee Business Journal Mark Kass tells WTMJ there are few who would enjoy the consequences of the measure failing.
“Here’s a case where the city is looking for money. We’ve all read stories about the need for the money and how it would be used: police, firemen, EMS and the obvious pension issues,” said Kass. “The alternatives are not good for this city if the money is not in place. I think it will be approved, it is just a matter of when and how ugly it gets along the way.”
Two thirds of both the local councils have to approve the proposed tax increase in order for it to be enacted, but some have raised critiques.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson says he is optimistic the measure will be passed despite the opposition. During an interview with WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi, Mayor Johnson says he thinks members of the Common Council will recognize how important the city’s public services are.
““For all of these things, I think that the common council will step up, do the right thing and vote to enable us to implement this tool,” Johnson says. “Milwaukee ha(s) sort of been on island on in terms of being the largest city in the country that doesn’t have the ability to levy a local sales tax for operations.”
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