Boots & Sabers

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0847, 24 Jul 17

Barrett Whines About Not Being Able to Tax More

I invite this conversation.

The City of Milwaukee is more unique than we knew.

It is the only city its size limited to using property taxes as the sole form of local taxation, a new report has found. The report also suggests the current revenue structure Milwaukee is required to operate under is ineffective and outdated.

“Milwaukee is in this unique situation because the handcuffs are so tight,” Mayor Tom Barrett said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The report — “On The Money?” — will be released Sunday by the nonprofit Public Policy Forum.

Following an analysis of 39 similar-size cities, the forum found Wisconsin is the only state in the Midwest that limits municipalities to the property tax as the sole form of local taxation. And it’s the only state whose largest city has the same tax structure as all other municipalities.


The analysis also found that each of the cities studied in the report except Milwaukee has multiple taxes, and most have general or selective sales taxes, such as taxes on entertainment or food and liquor. Other findings include that state aid is typically a minor source of revenue for most of those cities, and cities with larger populations tend to draw more heavily on the sales tax and less on the property tax.

Essentially, Wisconsin does government funding a little differently than other states and Barrett wants his cake and to eat it too. Wisconsin does restrict local taxation somewhat, but does so in exchange for much higher state funding than other states. If fact, you’ll notice that the City of Milwaukee receives a huge sum of money from the state’s taxpayers:


You will also notice, that Barrett is very specific about talking about “taxation” since the City does rake in a tremendous amount of money through various fees like the Wheel Tax – er… Wheel Fee.

Barrett wants to continue to receive a tremendous amount of money from the state, but also wants to raise more local taxes to support his reckless spending. But it is really a matter of the philosophy behind how we want to fund out local governments. I have long been a critic of Wisconsin’s Shared Revenue structure. I would much prefer to scrap the entire framework, cut state taxes and spending, and let local people decide for themselves how much they want to fund their local governments. It has never made sense to filter so much tax money through the state and back to local governments. Except in the cases of some rural local governments that lack a sufficient tax base, the state shouldn’t be in the business of funding any local governments.

So I support Barrett’s effort to allow local governments to levy more and different kinds of taxes to fund themselves – as long as the rest of Wisconsin’s taxpayers can have back the $265 million per year that we send to Milwaukee. The state sends about a billion dollars a year to local governments. Let’s return that to the taxpayers and let local taxpayers decide how they want to fund their local governments.


0847, 24 July 2017


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    For a guy wasting $200 million+on a crappy, slow, yuppie mover in downtown, he certainly whines a lot about money.

    He spends like he has an unlimited money tree in back yard.   Typical liberal.

  2. 9606

    Let’s follow that through to the feds giving money to the states.
    Reduce Fed taxes and state funding.

  3. dad29

    It has never made sense to filter so much tax money through the state and back to local governments

    Oh, yes it has!!  (If you are a politician like Henry Maier who wants to screw outside-of-Milwaukee citizens.)  Barrett is a recipient of Maier’s conniving with Pat Lucey (and others)–and like any spoiled ingrate kid, wants more.

    We should not forget, however, the utter piggishness of the Police and Firefighters’ Unions–and the AFSCME–who will, in combination, strangle the City.

  4. billphoto

    The City of Milwaukee was on a downward trend until Barrett’s election and, as a general statement, has been going up annually.  Understandably, Barrett is whining.  Milwaukee is not even in the top ten.  Currently $30.83 per thousand.  Bet Mayor Barrett would like to match little Brokaw (251 people in Marathon County) with a tax rate of $47.19.  Village of Brown Deer is $33.35 at number 5.

  5. Le Roi du Nord


    Just a couple points to ponder.  It was Tommy Thompson who said “stick it ’em” on the surrounding counties paying of part of Miller Park.  The police weren’t include in Act 10 so you can hang that one on walker.  And the firefighters are backing a Barrett recall.  AFSCME really hasn’t much clout since Act 10 and sure isn’t strangling any  employer.


  6. Paul

    Illiterate white nationalist troll.

  7. Paul

    Warning: the above link contains malware.

  8. dad29

    Thompson was a sophisticated Big Government thief, as I have pointed out on numerous occasions.  Exempting police and fire unions from Act 10 was blatantly political and should be remembered as such.

    AFSCME has not rejected any of its inordinately fat pensions yet, though.

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