Task force: Sales tax increase may be best option to pay for $250M in improvements to city attractions

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MILWAUKEE -- In the years to come, a number of Milwaukee attractions will need major repairs. One group has looked at a number of options to pay for those projects, and the group says the best option might be a sales tax increase.

The next act for Milwaukee's arts and cultural attraction took center stage on Monday, October 26th at the Marcus Center. The performing arts center is one of the places in need of future funding.

MMAC task force proposes sales tax to pay for improvements to city attractions

MMAC task force proposes sales tax to pay for improvements to city attractions

 

Eighteen months ago, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) put together a large task force to come up with ways to pay for needed improvements at the Marcus Center, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee County Zoo and public parks.

Milwaukee Public Museum

Milwaukee Public Museum

"If we want to attract millennials, which are gonna make up 75 percent of the world`s workforce in the next 10 years, Milwaukee has got to be able to compete with the work space, as well as the live, work, learn, and play space," Tim Sheehy, MMAC president said.

The task force has now come back with some suggestions -- indicating the most viable option for an estimated $250 million worth of maintenance and improvements is a sales tax increase in Milwaukee County.

MMAC task force proposes sales tax to pay for improvements to city attractions

MMAC task force proposes sales tax to pay for improvements to city attractions

MMAC officials say this isn't a formal proposal, but a starting point.

"Public funding is declining and we need to find an answer, but it`s premature to jump to an answer right now," Sheehy said.

Lion cubs at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Lion cubs at the Milwaukee County Zoo

With state and local officials recently approving public funding for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena in downtown Milwaukee, supporters of the cultural attractions say it's all part of a bigger transformation of the city.

"If we put together a cultural vision that tells the broader story, then you`re gonna get people excited about what we have here and that is in conjunction with what`s happening with the arena," Deanna Tillisch, president of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) said.

And those supporters say make no mistake, the city is at the heart of that transformation.

"How many of you can name your great favorite city? And how many of you have been to that city because of the suburbs?" Dan Keegan, director of the Milwaukee Art Museum said.

Milwaukee Art Museum

Milwaukee Art Museum

Supporters say if we don't invest in arts and culture, the curtain will close on a great opportunity.

Sheehy says there's no rush to approve a funding plan for these different attractions. He says officials are looking at a two-year timeline before making a decision on how to pay for any improvements.

3 comments

  • Brisls

    Gee, let’s add more taxes to fund cultural avenues then have the County Exec or/and Mayor Barrett act as if they hit the jackpot and use that money for other things, combine the money into funds for other projects then complain they don’t have the money to maintain what we already have. Let’s then go and seek new projects to build and figure out how to pay for them after they’re built. This city’s government is so SCREWED UP.

    • TruthOverHegemony

      “BRISLS
      Gee, let’s add more taxes to fund cultural avenues then have the County Exec or/and Mayor Barrett act as if they hit the jackpot and use that money for other things, combine the money into funds for other projects then complain they don’t have the money to maintain what we already have. Let’s then go and seek new projects to build and figure out how to pay for them after they’re built. This city’s government is so SCREWED UP.”

      Did you miss the laying of the groundwork for this by the likes of Scott Walker when he was County Executive? Abele isn’t a real liberal. He’s a millionaire with no real sense of the dire conditions within the City of Milwaukee. All he sees are spreadsheets and how they impact his future investments and lifestyle. They are the drama for the people who can’t step back to see what the bipartisan charade is all about. They are interested in the same thing: continuing the fiat debt-based dollar enslavement of the majority at every small wrinkle of an opportunity to do so for the benefit of their benefactors, the .01%. That’s all taxes do, backed up by the threat of violence by a military (police, IRS, etc.)

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