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Bucks Win Could Make Compelling Argument for Local Control of Taxes

Michelle Maternowski
County Executive David Crowley celebrates during the Bucks Championship Parade.

The Bucks’ championship win thrust Milwaukee onto the national stage, and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley says we should expect to stay in the spotlight for some time.

As a season ticket holder, he was inside the Fiserv Forum for Game Six to watch it all go down in history. He believes this win is just one of the many events that will thrust the city into the spotlight and this national spotlight makes a compelling argument for why the county should have more local power over taxes.

"When you think about the Bucks’ run, these finals, how much money we would’ve been able to capture locally to really invest in our public transit system, invest in our parks, invest in our community," says Crowley.

Right now, Milwaukee is an anomaly among major U.S. cities in that it has virtually no control over sales taxes. The state of Wisconsin doesn't grant municipalities the ability to alter its sales tax, and unlike other states, there is no exception for its largest city.

That has left Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee overly reliant on other sources of revenue, like property taxes. Crowley believes that as the area begins to attract more visitors and residents, local control over sales taxes will be imperative to fully fund the growing needs of the community.

He says, "We need to give local municipalities the opportunity to thrive and the only way to do that is through local option sales tax to capture those visitors' dollars and be able to invest in our own community locally."

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2016.
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