How do you feel about a $60 or $30 “wheel tax” in Milwaukee? County supervisors want to hear from you!

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County residents are encouraged to weigh in on a proposed new tax. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is proposing a vehicle registration fee, more commonly called a "wheel tax."

A public hearing is set for Monday evening, October 31st, and the discussion will focus on a wheel tax of $60, or perhaps $30, or perhaps, officials will opt to stick with the status quo and not impose a tax on registered vehicles at all.

County leaders are counting on constituents contributing to the conversation Monday evening.

County supervisors want to know how you feel about the proposed new wheel tax -- and other budget proposals.


"We're trying our best. We're trying to make things work," Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman said.

"We want to hear from the community. We want to hear from our constituents," Milwaukee County Supervisor Michael Mayo said.

"There's a public budget hearing, and any concerns that they have regarding anything within the budget -- please come out and speak," Milwaukee County Supervisor Sequanna Taylor said.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele

"Of every element of the budget, this is the single most important part of it by far -- the vehicle registration fee," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

Abele has recommended the fee be set at $60. He said money generated would be used to help cover various costs, including road maintenance and repairs.

Without the wheel tax?

Vehicle registration

"We're gonna have to face some really, dire choices. I mean, think bus fares going from $2 to maybe $8. I mean, that wouldn't even be enough," Abele said.

Abele said the same of the move Monday morning by the Milwaukee County Board's Finance and Audit Committee. Committee members approved an alternative fee -- totaling $30 -- half of Abele's recommendation.

"I understand that it was a compromise, and it's something that had to be done. I do thank the chairman for looking into it, and seeing what could be done, but I definitely think we still got some work ahead of us regarding this wheel tax," Taylor said.

Road construction

The public hearing is set for 6:00 p.m. Monday inside the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts -- at Water and State in downtown Milwaukee.

All 18 Milwaukee County supervisors are expected to be in attendance in order to listen to the public.

Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb has extended a special invitation to County Executive Chris Abele to attend the hearing, according to a statement from his office.

According to Lipscomb's statement, the Finance and Audit Committee, led by Chair Peggy West, has held 10 days of public meetings on the 2017 budget during the month of October, and held a public hearing in the community on October 18th.

The Finance Committee will hold an additional public meeting this Wednesday, November 2nd before the amended budget comes before the full County Board for adoption on Monday, November 7th.


  • Always Outspoken

    Abele, you’re just adding another reason for folks to move their residences and businesses out of Milwaukee.

    We already pay inflated property taxes, have service fees added to our water bills, and there’s already a $25 “wheel tax” levied on Milwaukee County residents, but apparently that’s not enough of a price to pay to live in a city with rampant crime, lousy schools, no jobs, deteriorating streets, and impotent leadership.

    If the bus system is running so far imto the red, then THAT’S what you’ve got to address. Why do those who don’t use them need to inject more money into running a fleet of empty buses around town?

    RAISE BUS FARES. $1.75 to ride doesn’t even begin to make a dent in operational costs. Put the burden of the convenience on those who benefit from it.

    RUN FEWER AND SMALLER VEHICLES. If ridership is down, why do we need to continue to run full size EMPTY buses around? Use vans or something similar and run them less frequently.

    CUT BACK ON FREE PASSES. If you can just ASSUME that car owners can afford to fork out more $$$, why can’t you do the same with those receiving free bus passes?

  • Sarah Mullins

    Not even a viable option unless abele wants to stop blocking mass transit options for people to get to work in a reasonable manner other than cars.. High speed train yes, until that happens no way.. Just another reason for people and businesses to move out of Milwaukee

  • todd coughlin

    Abele!!!!!! How can you be blind to the fact that we the people are tired of being taxed to death? Its obvious that i need to move out of this county

  • Huh !

    1 way to save mo0ney on street repairs would be to STOP RIPPING UP ALL THE NEW STREETS !!!
    Do a little research in the areas before tearing them up, your due diligence would save me a whole lot of cash !

  • Michael Luther

    How come the postal service gets away without having a license plate on their vehicles. It should help big time since they drive on our streets.

  • Jim

    There already is a wheel tax for Milwaukee, Washington, and counties that don’t require emissions testing. I remember prior to priority was $149.50 to register a light truck or car and now I registered my car at the dmv on grange and it was over $219. This state is becoming an even worse craphole than ever.

  • Tom Sabourin

    I might have been more open to the idea had government officials not already passed along a similar amount to us to contribute to the new Bucks arena. These folks always find a way to get more money for projects they think are important. Sure, we can help a couple of billionaires with a few hundred million dollars to help build a new stadium. If that were not in the picture, do you think any one would try to find money for programs to try to address the problems of one of the most segregated cities in the country? No way. They were too afraid to stand up to the team owners for fear of losing the time while they were in office, and potentially losing their job. So instead of investing in the people of our city, we’re investing in the team and hope that the secondary impacts of the development will be a bonus for the town. Economists say otherwise. And service industry jobs will not provide the lift needed to move the needle in our town.

    And now another tax to maintain roads. I would like to know where the accountability is for what is already being spent. No matter where I go in the city I seem to come across road construction. And yet driving around it seems every road is still in horrible shape. You pave a road and then cut up sections for some other project. Or if you wait just a couple of winters that new road will already be a mess. How about doing it right the first time? How about not dumping tens of thousands of tons of salt on the roads at the first forecast of bad weather. How about managing the city’s finances and projects as you would your own? How about thinking long-term instead of what will get me through the next election cycle?

  • Norine Peardon

    Stop taxing the people to death. Government leaders should be ashamed of themselves for funding pet projects on the backs of the people and then trying to tax more for roads. Ridiculous !

  • Thom Reed

    A local businessman spoke to a group of poor and Vets working to keep their heads above water. His answer on this wheel tax…..remove your plates and don’t pay a cent to register your vehicle. This will create such chaos in the long run to bankrupt the County if they don’t start cutting costs on problems of their own making.

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