Explain It To Me: The Governor’s plans to increase local government funding

Feb 10, 2023 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Additional context from IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, Alex Ignatowski:

What happening? The Governor’s plan would take 20% of the state’s revenue through the sales tax and distribute it to municipalities and counties. His proposal would also allow for Milwaukee Co. to raise a 1% sales tax, although they would have to share half of the revenue with the City of Milwaukee. Other counties would be able to raise their sales tax an additional .5% (on top of the .5% already allowed under current law) and cities with a population <30,000 would also be allowed to implement a .5% sales tax.

Why is it important? Counties and Municipalities have made increasing shared revenue from the state a major priority this session. The legislature has been receptive to the idea and now the Governor has taken the next step of including it in his budget proposal. The proposal dedicates $250M (43.4%) of the new appropriation to support local government public safety services defined as law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, courts and district attorney offices.

What’s next? The Governor will formally introduce his budget next week Wednesday and lay out his priorities in the coming biennium. This will undoubtedly be part of his speech, but it is yet to be seen how the legislature will amend his proposal. The JFC is expected to begin its work on the budget in late April or early May.