Explain It To Me: The Assembly passes legislation to increase revenue for local governments

May 19, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Patrick Hughes

From IRG Policy Analyst Patrick Hughes

What happened? On Wednesday, the Assembly passed Assembly Bill 245, the assembly’s proposal to increase shared revenue for local governments.

Why is it important? Both Republican and Democrats statewide agree that local governments require additional revenue to provide effective services. Governor Evers included a significant increase in shared revenue in the 2023-2025 state budget; this bill is the assembly’s counter proposal. The bill increases state aid received by most local governments by 15% over existing shared revenue. The bill also includes a number of changes to the statutes related to local government operations including spending on public safety,  police and fire commission membership, the personal property tax, the authority of local health officials, the regulation of quarries and a number of other local issues.

The bill allows the City of Milwaukee to increase sales tax by 2% and Milwaukee County may increase sales tax by 0.375% if voters approve in a referendum. Revenue from this increased sales tax is required to be spent on unfunded pension and retirement obligations.

What’s next? The bill now moves to the Senate, whose leadership has indicated that there may not be support for the bill in its current form. Governor Evers continues to advocate for the plan in his budget proposal, promising to veto this bill.