Greater Milwaukee Committee board backs sales tax referendum

Send letter to Vos, Fitzgerald

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:36 pm

Members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee board of directors sent a letter this week to the leaders of the Republican-controlled state Legislature, expressing support for a proposal to have a referendum asking Milwaukee County voters if the county’s sales tax should be increased for property tax relief and to fund local government.


“There is a great need to provide property tax relief to Milwaukee County taxpayers,” said Julia Taylor, president of the GMC. “At the same time, there is also a critical need to maintain funding for Milwaukee County and its municipalities. This legislation does both.”


The referendum proposal, which would increase the county’s sales tax to 6.5% (from 5.6% currently) is also supported by several local officials and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. 


However, Republican leaders in the Legislature, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have opposed allowing the referendum, which cannot be held without the approval of the Legislature. The letter from the GMC board was sent to Vos and Fitzgerald.


The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization, which has a member network of almost 200 Milwaukee-area business leaders.


“There is broad support for this legislation – both for the property tax relief it will provide and the increased revenue that will be available to invest in our future,” said David Lubar, president and CEO of Lubar & Co. and chairman of the GMC. “We are not asking the state for more funding, we are asking the legislature to allow a referendum so Milwaukee County voters can have a direct say in this important matter.”

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.