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How Much Of The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Is Coming To Milwaukee? More Than Most Other Large Cities

Milwaukee Skyline
Sean Pavone Photo
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The city of Milwaukee will receive $406 million dollars from the latest federal stimulus package.

Of the recently passed $1.9 trillion federal stimulus package, $5.7 billion will be going directly to governments across Wisconsin. About $3 billion will be allocated by the state government while the rest is given to municipal governments.

Molly Beck is a reporter covering state government and politics for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She recently co-wrote an article that found that the city of Milwaukee is receiving one of the highest per capita distributions amongst large cities across the nation.

In total, the city will get $406 million, and Milwaukee County will get an additional $183 million. The stimulus package allows for that money to be spent on a large number of issues on which government officials are still trying to figure out who gets the final say.

In Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett will be the one leading the process of allocating the money, and Beck says he has already began talking about what he wants to spend the money on.

“[Barrett] has said he wants to use some of the spending for new housing or different housing, preventing evictions, creating new jobs,” Beck says. “When you look at Milwaukee, 35% of working-aged residents are considered to be living in poverty. So, that tells you why, you know, Milwaukee is getting a lot of money and so, the mayor has said he wants to use it for things that address those issues.”

At the state level, Gov. Tony Evers will be the one directing state funds and has already committed to vetoing a bill from the Republican-controlled Legislature that would give lawmakers more power over the money.

“[Evers] has got billions of dollars to use to send to restaurants that have been suffering this whole year, you know bars that have been shut down, other kinds of businesses and industries that have been particularly hard hit, ... also creating jobs,” she says.

The state Legislature has also considered a proposal that would require prisoners to put any money received through the $1,400 direct stimulus payments towards restitution. Evers has also said he would veto this measure.

While these large pots of money will have effects across the state, Beck says direct payments will be the soonest way Wisconsinites see this stimulus package. Many have already received checks for $1,400 and parents will see even larger checks to support their families.

“People hear about the stimulus package, that is the headline, you know, for them because that’s how they see the direct effect of it quickly. They’ll see the effect of it in other ways but the immediate effect is going to be that money that comes into their bank account,” she says.

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.
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