The endorsements below illustrate Move Forward MKE’s broad support to provide 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.
"There is an urgent and critical need for an additional revenue solution for Milwaukee County. We cannot continue to rely on already-high property taxes or budget cuts - that is simply not sustainable. As the economic engine of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County must have the tools necessary to invest in our communities, our residents and our businesses to ensure that this region, and our State, continues to grow. What's more, the ability to invest in Milwaukee County will help us achieve our vision of racial equity and help make Milwaukee the healthiest County in Wisconsin."
David Crowley, Milwaukee County Executive
"Our city and our region need a stable, diversified revenue structure to retain future fiscal health. Diversifying the city’s revenues will ensure that the City of Milwaukee continues to move forward in financially sustainable way that maintains access to essential services for our residents. I look forward to working in partnership with state legislators to move our region forward."
Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee Mayor
“A lack of revenue is holding Milwaukee County back. Inadequate revenue prevents us from delivering state mandated services and working to improve the health of our communities. We urgently need a permanent solution to this crisis and we need the State Legislature to work with us to move Milwaukee forward.”
Marcelia Nicholson, Chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
"We need a more equitable solution to pay for local government services in an urban environment like Milwaukee that serves as the cultural and commercial center of the State of Wisconsin. Every day, Milwaukee must provide city infrastructure and police and fire protection to the many visitors that come to work and play. Unfortunately, under the current structure the burden to pay for these services falls solely on Milwaukee’s taxpayers. Wisconsin needs to recognize, as most states do, that in order for an urban center to thrive it must have diversified revenue to pay for core essential services used by everyone."
José G. Pérez, Common Council President, City of Milwaukee
“Our state’s model for funding local government is broken and must evolve for the sake of communities of every size and shape in our state. The Greater Milwaukee Committee is proud to be a longstanding partner in this work, including commissioning research from the Wisconsin Policy Forum that highlights our stunning over-reliance on property tax and the glaring need for revenue diversification. Without immediate and bold action, the provision of basic services like public safety, sanitation and infrastructure maintenance will be at risk and Milwaukee will fail to reach our potential to become one of the world’s truly great cities. We stand with our partners across local government, the private sector, and the community to encourage action that enables local control and ensures Milwaukee can continue to be the economic engine for the State.”
Joel Brennan, President of the Greater Milwaukee Committee
“This new partnership is a critical step in moving the Milwaukee area forward. Milwaukee County and its municipalities house 60 percent of the jobs in our metro area. To provide property tax relief, maintain critical services and support our infrastructure, MMAC supports making a case to voters that this is necessary and sound investment in the future of the entire metro area.”
Timothy Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce
“For years we have been doing more with less as state aids continue to decline, and having the option to generate local revenue represents a watershed moment for us to not only sustain ourselves, but to thrive for generations to come. This plan is the best way forward for us to give Milwaukee County taxpayers the services and programs they deserve.”
Chris Abele, Former Milwaukee County Executive
“As a top-tier research university, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee provides a world-class education to thousands of students each year on campuses in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Washington County. As a leading educator of architects, engineers, business students, teachers, and health professionals, UW-Milwaukee prides ourselves on our ability to contribute to the state’s vibrancy and economic growth by attracting students, faculty, and workers and companies from Wisconsin and across the globe. About 80% of our more than 200,000 alumni live and work in Wisconsin, creating opportunities and positively impacting our communities. To continue being an economic driver throughout the region and state, it is critical Milwaukee has the tools it needs to maintain the quality-of-life services that help us attract and retain talent. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee strongly supports the effort of the Move Forward coalition.” Mark Mone, UW-Milwaukee Chancellor
"As a Milwaukee native, entrepreneur, and member of various cultural institutions, I am acutely aware of how special Milwaukee is. It is a hub of commerce and culture; a unique place with a rich history and a bright future. That bright future of Milwaukee, and our state, face significant challenges unless Milwaukee has the necessary tools to responsibly address its past mistakes, while also creating a more competitive tax environment and preserve services that encourages capital investment. As a result, I strongly support the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to secure a local sales tax and ensure our community remains a world-class destination for residents, businesses, and tourists." Andy Nunemaker, CEO at Groupware Technologies, Sprecher Brewing Company Board Chairman, and Board Member of Northwestern Mutual, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Sculpture Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Art Museum
"The American Heart Association supports coalition efforts to secure additional resources that enable the County to support critical local services and initiatives necessary for Milwaukee to pursue its vision of becoming the healthiest county in WI by achieving racial equity." Katie Connolly, Executive Director - SE WI, American Heart
“Palermo’s is committed to providing quality jobs for people in and around Milwaukee County. We support making the right moves to ensure that Milwaukee County can generate it’s own revenue to provide critical services to its residents and visitors. Milwaukee County provides world class opportunities and entertainment for the region and beyond. Creating a revenue stream to protect and maintain critical services and infrastructure makes sense from a business perspective and a people perspective to keep Milwaukee a world class place to live and to visit.” Nicholas Fallucca, Chief Product & Innovation Officer, Palermo’s Pizza Association
HOAN Group:"HOAN strongly supports Move Forward MKE’s effort to preserve Milwaukee’s ability to attract and retain bright and talented future leaders. As an independent group that brings together diverse leaders from Milwaukee and Madison to take collective action on the problems of today and develop the leaders of tomorrow, HOAN is acutely aware of the critical need to preserve the assets and services that make our region a destination."
Wisconsin REALTORS Association: "Wisconsin relies almost exclusively on property taxes to fund essential services in our local communities. As a result, we have some of the highest property taxes in the country, which makes housing less affordable and discourages economic growth. Our state’s economic future depends on coming up with a new way to fund our local communities that is less dependent upon property taxes and utilizes more diversified revenue sources."
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. / Summerfest: “Since 1968, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. has produced world-class experiences in Milwaukee through Summerfest and served as a host of other popular festivals that showcase the histories and traditions of various nationalities that make up the fabric of our state. Our mission is to provide an opportunity for people throughout the world to come to Milwaukee, and enjoy the performing arts, activities, and recreation at Henry Maier Festival Park along the shores of Lake Michigan. In addition to Summerfest, which generates over one hundred million annually in economic activity, Henry Maier Festival Park hosts ethnic and cultural festivals, concerts, walks, runs, and other special events that attract an average of a million people annually to our region. To continue that success, it is critical Milwaukee has the tools to preserve quality of life services, such as parks, transit, and public safety, that enable us to draw tourists and events to our state by providing important services such as public safety, transit, and parks.”
Wisconsin Counties Association: “Wisconsin Counties have very few options to fund services, and as a result have been forced to over rely on property taxes to fund local services and state mandates. Milwaukee County’s has leveraged the broad support of their business community and community leaders to identify a way to solve acute problems in their community and diversify their revenue stream to reduce property taxes, reform their local pension system, and fund critical public services. A successful and prosperous Wisconsin requires a strong Milwaukee economy.”
League of Wisconsin Municipalities: “Milwaukee leaders, both public and private sector, recognize the need for a more modern, diversified system that will keep police officers on the beat, EMTs just a phone call away, snow plow drivers at the ready and the many other critical local public servants ready and able to meet the needs of our leading city. No other state finances local government solely on the backs of property tax payers. We can do better, and for Wisconsin’s future, we must do better.”
Marcus Performing Arts Center: “Marcus Performing Arts Center strongly supports the collaborative effort between our region’s community and business leaders to ensure Milwaukee has the necessary tools continue as a globally competitive region, attracting people here for work and play. As the premier performing arts community gathering space in Southeastern Wisconsin, the Marcus Center understands the economic value generated for the region and state through quality of life services and amenities, and the need to preserve them."
NAIOP - Wisconsin: “Move Forward MKE effort provides strategic investments in key areas necessary to allow Milwaukee County to grow and thrive. It is a balanced approach focused on tax relief, public safety, and the long-term viability of our community."
Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS: “High property taxes are a burden to homeownership and a barrier to enjoying a higher quality of life. The Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS® supports local option taxes and user fees to reduce property taxes and fund quality of life services, including public safety in order to grow economic activity in the region, which provides stability to the real estate industry."
Menomonee Valley Partners: “Parks, infrastructure, responsive government services, and other valuable amenities and services attract and retain the strong businesses that drive Milwaukee, the economic engine of our state. We need a sustainable, diversified revenue structure to provide the services that support these needs and keep the greater Milwaukee area competitive with peer cities across the nation when it comes to location for business and talent."
VISIT MKE: "VISIT MKE applauds the collaborative effort by the business and community leaders through Move Forward MKE, as it directly supports VISIT’s mission. VISIT Milwaukee is focused on increasing the economic impact to our region and state by marketing Greater Milwaukee as a premier location for business and leisure travel. Tourism is vital to our region’s success as it generates $6 billion in annual economic activity and supports 52,000 full-time jobs. VISIT supports securing tools that enable us to preserve quality of life amenities and services, including public safety, that enables us to be a globally competitive region to bring tourists and businesses to Milwaukee for work and play."
Forest County Potawatomi: "The Potawatomi have called Milwaukee home for hundreds of years and will continue to do so for hundreds more. This is why Potawatomi supports Move Forward MKE’s effort to ensure Milwaukee County can continue to maintain and enhance valuable services that help attract businesses and people to the region to generate economic activity and increase the economic health of the region."
Milwaukee Public Museum: "Milwaukee Public Museum supports the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to put Milwaukee, and the region, on a path for a more stable and brighter future. Since 1882, Milwaukee Public Museum has been an integral part of the community, and an asset for the entire state, drawing visitors from across the country. Securing additional tools to preserve quality of life services and amenities ensures Milwaukee will remain a destination, generating cultural and economic benefits for the region and state."
Milwaukee Downtown BID 21: "Since 1998, Milwaukee Downtown BID 21 has supported the interests of the downtown Milwaukee business community, representing the interests of roughly 500 property owners. MKE Downtown understands that creating a clean, safe, and friendly downtown is critical to the economic success of our community, region, and state. MKE Downtown strongly supports the Move Forward MKE coalition and its effort to ensure our community has the necessary tools to preserve quality of life services, including public safety, that ensures Milwaukee continues to be a strong economic asset for our region and state."
NWSP: "Near West Side Partners, Inc. (NWSP) supports the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to strengthen our region’s ability to attract businesses, sustain economic growth, and improve neighborhoods. Similar to Move Forward MKE, NWSP leverages cross-sector collaboration, between institutional stakeholders, civic leaders, and residents to work toward a collective goal to make our community a great place to live, work, play and stay by revitalizing and sustaining thriving businesses and neighborhoods. Additional local tools to invest in services and amenities that enable our community to attract and retain talent is critical to the long-term economic success of our region."
WCD: "The Wisconsin Center District (WCD) endorses Move Forward MKE’s effort to secure additional local tools to ensure Milwaukee remains a globally competitive region. This effort aligns with WCD’s mission to generate prosperity for the Greater Milwaukee community, and our state, by leveraging Wisconsin Center District assets and resources to attract meetings and conventions and entertainment events. As a nationally recognized live events district, providing first class facilities to attract events and visitors to Milwaukee, WCD recognizes the value of preserving quality of life services, including public safety, which are critical to the success of our mission and the region’s economic health."
CAR-W: "CARW supports the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to ensure Milwaukee continues to be globally competitive metro region. Our members recognize the critical value of adequately funding quality of life amenities and services, including public safety, to attract and retain businesses to Milwaukee. A diversified revenue structure that moves away from a reliance on property taxes is essential for the economic health of our region and state."
M7: “The Milwaukee region is in a global competition for the talent our companies require to remain globally competitive. Quality of place acutely matters to these individuals. Our region must be in position to invest in the types of physical, educational, cultural and recreational assets that attract and retain these critical workers.”
The Bartolotta Restaurants “As a leading employer in Milwaukee’s vibrant hospitality industry, The Bartolotta Restaurants supports this solution as one of the several means in which to resolve the varied economic challenges facing our community. We believe this proposal will create a level of economic certainty in order to address challenges to safety, infrastructure, and development while providing important property tax relief and helping our citizens and businesses. We must collectively take action to support the community we live in and create a strong economic engine for our city and county.”
Discovery World: "Today’s Discovery World exists to inspire generations to discover the wonders of science. Through interactive exhibits, the underwater worlds of the Reiman Aquarium, and unforgettable and ever-changing events and activities we have become an immersive science experience for families, students, and everyone in our community. Discovery World supports the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to diversify Milwaukee’s revenue streams for a more stable and brighter future in the region. Securing additional tools to preserve quality of life services and amenities ensures Milwaukee will remain a globally competitive destination to bring tourists to Milwaukee to share in our love for science.”
"Our beloved Milwaukee Parks are an integral part of the community and draw visitors from across the state, region, and nation. The long-term success of our public services, including parks, depends on Milwaukee County's ability to diversify sources of revenue. Milwaukee Parks Foundation strongly supports the Move Forward MKE coalition and its solution for fiscal sustainability." - Rebecca Stoner, Executive Director, Milwaukee Parks Foundation
“As a former board chair of VISIT Milwaukee, a small business owner, and someone who deeply loves this community, I strongly support the Move Forward MKE coalition’s effort to secure additional tools to preserve critical services, including public safety, that make Milwaukee such a wonderful place. Investments in important quality of life services and assets will serve as a benefit for our community and region as we attract additional investment, tourists, and talent. Southeastern Wisconsin has limitless potential, and additional funding to stabilize and invest in our community will enable growth that produces a stronger Milwaukee for many years to come.” - Omar Shaikh, Restaurateur, Developer, and former VISIT MKE Board Chair
The following organizations have also endorsed Move Forward MKE: