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County executive: GOP plan to kill Milw. Co. wheel tax will force cuts, delays in bus service

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MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- A plan to fund roads while borrowing less money, presented by Assembly Republicans in Madison Thursday, May 4th eliminates the wheel tax in communities that did not approve one before April 1st -- i.e. Milwaukee County. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said the GOP's plan to kill the wheel tax will force dramatic cuts to bus service and delays in fixing roads.

Abele said the county stands to lose $7 million in 2017, and $16 millionĀ in 2018.

Lawmakers have already limited the county's ability to raise property taxes or the sales tax. Elected officials say Milwaukee County is out of options if the wheel tax -- which the County Board just approved in November -- goes away.

Chris Abele

"We're not solving any problems by taking one county, removing its revenue, and making it harder for thousands of people to get to work -- particularly when that county is the county that contributes more to the state of Wisconsin's budget than any other," Abele said.

"I would just ask the legislature treat us like other communities and provide the same tools to Milwaukee County as other communities," said Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb.

Under the Republican transportation plan, Milwaukee County's wheel tax would only come back if voters approved it in a referendum.