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Limited-Term Sales Tax Could Help Support Local Cultural Assets

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katie wheeler
/
Flickr
A proposed sales tax could help cultural centers such as the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, as well as other public and private institutions if approved.

This month, the leaders of a task force studying arts, culture and recreation funding in Milwaukee County said a regional approach – including a limited-term sales tax – was the ideal way to build support for public and some private cultural assets.

These are places like the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Marcus Center and others.

Political leaders in surrounding counties, however, have been– at best – lukewarm to the idea of spreading the cost beyond Milwaukee County, even if such a sales tax could also potentially support cultural institutions in those places.

The Open Spaces, Cultural Places report from the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum offers some backing for those suburban counties who say they don’t necessarily need more public dollars for culture.

The report looks specifically at the funding environment in the so-called "WOW" counties – Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. President of the Public Policy forum, Rob Henken spoke with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich about the potential implications a sales tax could produce for the counties in question.

"It's not only a matter of policy makers and citizens in those counties wanting to keep their taxes down, but they feel like they have their situations under control," Henken said.

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