Move Forward MKE supports giving Milwaukee County the ability to diversify its revenue streams to provide property tax relief, reform local pension systems, while adequately funding public services, maintaining facilities, and investing in the future.

Move Forward MKE is a Milwaukee County-wide coalition of local governments, business leaders, and community leaders who recognize that local problems are best solved with local solutions. This is not about politics; it’s about real solutions for real challenges our County is facing and their impacts on our residents and our region.

Wisconsin municipalities have the 6th highest reliance on property taxes in the country. In contrast, they rank 43rd for reliance on municipal sales taxes.

Milwaukee County's Funding Challenges

Move Forward MKE supports giving Milwaukee County the authority to implement a local option sales tax to provide property tax relief, reform local pensions, and preserve critical services and assets that will enable Milwaukee County to attract the businesses and people to be globally competitive metro region that helps drive the state economy forward.      

Milwaukee County budget gap growing despite spending cuts

Since 2010, Milwaukee County has cut expenditures by about $30 million each year, realized efficiencies, and streamlined services. Despite these efforts, the County still faces a $329 million gap over the next 20 years to simply maintain current services.

Local governments in Milwaukee County face long-term funding crises 

The City and County face a crisis without additional revenue tools. Budget gaps grow each year due to declining shared revenue, property tax levy limits and the inability of local governments under state law to raise revenue from other sources.

Local governments need new sources of revenue to maintain services and amenities that make metro Milwaukee a competitive region to grow businesses and attract and retain talent - including public safety and quality of life services. By 2027, there will be no local dollars for local services without an additional revenue source.

What options do local governments have?

Property Tax: Wisconsin has the 6th-highest property tax burden in the U.S. A 60% increase in Milwaukee County’s property tax levy is necessary to generate revenue equal to a 1% sales tax increase. 

State Aids: State Aid has been flat since 2012 and would require a 600% increase to generate revenue similar to a 1% sales tax increase.

Vehicle Registration Fee: An increased wheel tax cannot generate revenue at scale with local governments’ needs and is limited to supporting transportation expenses.

Sales Tax: An additional 1% sales tax provides $180 million in locally-generated revenue to address local priorities and would grow with increased economic activity.

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