MILWAUKEE -- A group of local lawmakers want to raise the Milwaukee County sales tax. Under the proposal, the county's sales tax would rise from a half-percent to one-and-a-half percent.
"Our system is broken and we need real solutions to the problems facing us today," said Eric Brooks, South Milwaukee mayor.
State law caps a county sales tax at no more than .6 percent. Milwaukee County would need the state legislature to first let them put the proposal on the ballot. Second, voters would need to approve it.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said the county is forced to make cuts to services every year. He said raising the county sales tax is the best way to raise revenue.
"One thing we all agree on. We need a solution. If we don't get out you will continue to see cuts on the local level," Abele said.
According to Abele, the sale tax hike would generate $160 million. The county would use the money generated for property tax relief -- and to invest in county-wide priorities.
State Rep. Evan Goyke and State Senator LaTonya Johnson will sponsor the legislation. If passed, it would go to voters as a binding referendum on the spring ballot.
"We are not asking for additional state dollars. We are asking for permission to ask the residents if they want a sales tax ," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said raising the sales tax would be a heavy life. But Rep. Goyke said he is up for the fight.
"This is a solution to move Milwaukee forward," Goyke said.