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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Joint Finance Committee Asked to Include 1% Sales Tax For Milwaukee County in Budget

by capper

As previously posted by Dan Cody and Jason Haas, the Quality of Life Alliance, another group I have ties to, have released the following press release:

The Quality of Life Alliance, a group I’m a part of, released the following press release today asking for the Joint Finance Committee to include the voter approved 1% sales tax for Milwaukee County in the upcoming budget.

For the sake of our Park System, Transit, and Emergency Medical Systems, we are asking the Joint Finance Committee to include in the next State budget what the citizens of Milwaukee County have already approved: a one percent sales tax increase that will provide sustainable, dedicated funding for Parks, Transit and EMS.

“Please don?t continue to allow the voices of the 400,000 people who voted in November?s referendum to be ignored”, remarked Cheri Briscoe of Sierra Club-Great Waters Group and Quality of Life Alliance member. The referendum was advisory and requires action from the state to be enacted.

“Our Milwaukee County Park System, once proud and strong, is now limping along with an ever decreasing staff to perform daily maintenance and a log of deferred maintenance for its facilities of nearly $275 million,” added Jim Goulee, a QLA member who is also on the Board of Directors for Preserve our Parks.

This group’s attempt to gain local legislative support for enabling legislation from our state legislators was unfortunately, a tough sell. The Governor instead inserted the creation of RTA for Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Racine and funded by a sales and use tax in his proposed budget, leaving out any support for Milwaukee County Parks.

It is now becoming apparent that the proposal for the creation of the Southeastern Wisconsin RTA is not finding the necessary support from the Joint Finance Committee and may not be included in their version of the state budget. Instituting the sales tax increase in Milwaukee County would, in fact, provide the source of funding needed for a Milwaukee County RTA and could easily accommodate a broader RTA if and when it is created.

“Milwaukee County needs property tax relief and we need a solution to our looming transit and parks crisis,” commented County Supervisor Chris Larson, Quality of Life Alliance spokesperson. “Milwaukee County needs the 1% sales tax that was passed in referendum nearly months ago. Property tax payers can?t wait any longer, transit riders can?t wait, any longer, and all our neighbors who love our parks shouldn?t have to wait any longer to see these problems fixed.”

Quality of Life Alliance (QLA) is a grassroots organization made up of representing a wide swatch of Milwaukee County?s concerned citizens set out to improve our community for a stronger future. Members of the Quality of Life Alliance include transit riders, union leaders, parks supporters, and business men and women, and everyday citizens who are deeply concerned about the future of Milwaukee County and all of Southeastern Wisconsin. Quality of Life Alliance provided the advocacy effort that led to the passage of the sales tax/property tax relief referendum last November. The Quality of Life Alliance is a registered political action committee based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It’s important the members of the Joint Finance Committee understand the importance of this dedicated funding source to the regions well being for decades to come. All we’re asking is to let the voices of the people of Milwaukee County be heard on this issue.

If you know any of the members of the JFC from the Milwaukee area like Rep. Tamara Grigsby, Rep. Pedro Colon, Sen. Lena Taylor or Sen. Alberta Darling, please contact them to voice your support.

Crossposted at Whallah!, Cog Dis, and Uppity Wisconsin.

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