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Initiative Addresses Milwaukee County’s Fiscal, Structural Crisis

Feb. 15, 2011

On Monday, February 14, local business leaders joined community and civic leaders to announce the recommendations of the Make it Your (MY) Milwaukee County Initiative at a news conference held at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The recommendations were also presented at the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s (GMC) Annual Meeting.

 

The GMC has been committed to addressing the fiscal and structural challenges facing Milwaukee County. As part of that effort, the GMC commissioned in-depth reports by the Public Policy Forum (PPF), which have chronicled the unprecedented fiscal and structural challenges facing Milwaukee County. Among the key findings of a 2010 study was that the growing cost of health care and pension benefits are projected to take every dollar of the County’s property tax levy by 2016, crowding out other critical services.

 

“While the County’s fiscal and structural challenges are enormous, so is the opportunity to make our vision for Milwaukee County a reality,” said Julia Taylor, President of the GMC. “We believe the need for reform is an urgent one, and that it will take the full effort of County and State leaders and the support of their constituents.”

 

Based on the challenges identified in the PPF reports, the GMC worked to build a broad and diverse coalition of individuals and organizations to develop detailed recommendations to address the challenges facing Milwaukee County. The Initiative’s public launch included recommendations for reform within three broad categories:

 

1. Creating a statewide “Local Government Flexibility Toolkit” to ensure that Milwaukee County has the necessary tools to balance budgets, protect taxpayers, and maintain fiscal health;

 

2. Creating a new blueprint for Milwaukee County governance; and

 

3. Creating a new blueprint for the delivery of Milwaukee County services.

 

“Our coalition is committed to serving as a catalyst for real reform in Milwaukee County,” said Maria Monreal-Cameron, President and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We know we must all work together to see our positive vision for Milwaukee County become a reality. The time to act is now.”

 

“We believe these are common-sense solutions to the challenges we face as a community,” said Alonzo Kelly, co-chair of the Initiative. “These ideas are the result of dialogue with dozens of community groups, businesses and advocacy organizations.” A public opinion poll taken in January 2011 demonstrates strong support for the Initiative’s recommendations – more than 70% of likely voters expressed support for each of the Initiative’s core recommendations.

 

ABOUT THE MAKE IT YOUR MILWAUKEE INITIATIVE

The Make it Your (MY) Milwaukee County Initiative is a broad-based coalition of local businesses, community organizations and individuals that have joined together to advocate for real reform for Milwaukee County.

 

The Initiative outlines recommendations to address the fiscal and structural challenges facing Milwaukee County in a way that will make the community a better place to live, work and play. To learn more about the coalition and the recommendations of the Initiative, visit www.MakeitYourMilwaukee.com.

 

ABOUT THE GREATER MILWAUKEE COMMITTEE

The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization whose mission is to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. The organization was formed in 1948 and I s comprised of the top leaders in business, the professions, labor, education philanthropy and non-profit community development. For more information, visit www.gmconline.org or call 414-272-0588.

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