From the President

MKE United Statement Regarding Public Policy Forum Report

July 25, 2017

Over the last year, MKE United has engaged in wide-ranging civic engagement efforts designed to create a shared and inclusive vision for Downtown Milwaukee and its adjacent neighborhoods. That process identified the City’s revenue framework as one of the key challenges limiting the City’s progress. As a result, the Greater Milwaukee Committee commissioned the Public Policy Forum to develop a report assessing the funding structures of peer cities around the country to inform a community discussion around various approaches.

The resulting report –“On the Money? The City of Milwaukee’s Uncommon Revenue Structure and How it Compares to Peer Cities” – demonstrates the need to consider a revised revenue structure that will reduce the burden on local property taxpayers and enable us to make the investments in our neighborhoods that will attract and retain inclusive and diverse businesses and jobs that benefit all Milwaukeeans.

City Funding Model Outdated

Milwaukee stands alone among its peers in its unusual funding approach:

  • Historically, state aid has been the City’s largest revenue source placing a significant burden on the State and the City’s budget;
  • Wisconsin is the only Midwestern state that property tax is the primary form of local municipal taxation;
  • Every other peer city has multiple local sources of revenue, with the vast majority including a combination of general and selective sales taxes; and
  • Other cities utilize funding mechanisms that reduce the local tax burden on property owners and secure revenue from the thousands of commuters and visitors that use City infrastructure and services every day.

Without significant change, Milwaukee will find it extraordinarily difficult to maintain existing services and impossible to invest in new, innovative approaches to expand economic development throughout the City.

Investing in Our City’s Future

MKE United is developing an ambitious vision for the future of our City that we are extremely excited about. But, we will not be able to make that vision a reality if we can’t develop a more effective and fair revenue structure for the City. This detailed report provides various approaches and roadmaps for all stakeholders – the City, State and broader community – to work together to develop a new and better solution.

We should take note of successful peer cities. As the report demonstrates, a more balanced approach to local taxation would lessen the burden on local property owners, provide greater flexibility in funding, generate revenue growth linked to the City’s economic growth, and lessen reliance on state funding.

We hope this report and subsequent media coverage will help kick-start a vibrant discussion regarding how to best fund vital City services. An effective funding structure will be able to not only leverage the City’s economic growth, but fuel that growth going forward, ensuring that prosperity extends throughout our City.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter from the President: May 2017

In order to deepen commitment and find ways to scale what works for our children to help them succeed in life from cradle to career, Milwaukee Succeeds leadership focused on finding solutions in a day-long, intensive retreat. Research shows the ability to read proficiently by the 3rd grade is critical for success down the road. Therefore, Milwaukee has put much time and energy to figuring out what works; focusing on Reading Foundations in early grades allows children to develop a strong set of skills allowing them to build confidence and to flourish in all subjects. Not surprisingly, a young reader is developed at home, in the classroom, and with the help of a qualified tutor. Adopted from Minnesota, an evidence-based tutoring program called Wisconsin Reading Corps has seen great success in its first two years of operation in Milwaukee. But we are not reaching enough kids through philanthropic contributions alone, so a number of people who care about education across the political divides came together to solve the issue.

Did we do it? We will know soon. Tim Sheehy came up with a great political strategy to reposition funding in the proposed state budget. Dr. Darienne Driver, Dr. Vicki Martin, Mark Mone and Michael Lovell made a commitment to extend training in Reading Foundations across all the political divides to include every K-3 teacher in Milwaukee.

This is the big success of Milwaukee Succeeds. It is coordination, cooperation and partnership. It is the trust to create sustainable change. It is the opportunity to set aside differences in philosophy for all children and the commitment to find the resources. Milwaukee Succeeds work across all sectors is a major step forward.

We’ve been at this political war for so many years. And we still struggle to educate our children because we can’t isolate education from the broader systems of poverty, crime, incarceration and violence.

Yet despite the war, we see individual successes school by school though not as a community or as a broader system.

Dr. Jill Biden visited Bradley Tech at the invitation of Dr. Vicki Martin, President of MATC and Bradley Tech Commission President on Friday prior to giving the commencement address at MATC. The Bradley Tech students are amazing whether they are welding, creating CNC patterns on Illustrator, creating apps or working on automated processes in Project Lead the Way. Seeing and talking with the students grounds us in all the potential that goes beyond politics, scores and stereotypes. It grounds us in the future.

 

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter from the President

Today’s shooting of a City of Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services employee, is an unthinkable and inexcusable act of violence. The Greater Milwaukee Committee sends its deepest condolences to his family and friends, the City of Milwaukee family, and others who have been effected by violence.

After 33 years of service, at the age of 64, his life was met with an incredibly tragic ending. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Violence is, and should be, seen as a public health issue. As we continue to strive for a safer Milwaukee through Safe MKE, and project created in partnership with the Office of Violence Prevention, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, 371 Production and the Prevention Institute, we ask that all people take time to reflect on the situation and how we can work together to build a safer, violence free Milwaukee.

As a member of the Steering Committee for the Mayor’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), we are looking at a large systems approach to violence prevention in a year that will more than likely see record breaking numbers of homicides and other violent crimes.

We hope you are on board and will be involved in our efforts to make Milwaukee a safer community.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter From the President: March 2017

Did you know that the lifetime risk of imprisonment by age 35 for African American men who do not complete high school is 70%? This is an astounding statistic. Educational attainment is one of the top societal investments to prevent violence, increase earnings and live a free life.

As a member of the Steering Committee for the Mayor’ Office of Violence Prevention (OVP), we are looking at a large systems approach to violence prevention in a year that will more than likely see record breaking numbers of homicides and other violent crimes.

Arnold Chandler of Forward Change presented a riveting presentation culled from numerous field studies of what strategies work, and what don’t, in a broader prevention system. Some strategies that work are not for the reasons we think. Youth employment programs decrease youth violence by 50% when combined with cognitive behavioral based programming, and have impact for two years following the initial employment. We think youth employment is important because it creates career exploration and work skills, but studies show its biggest impact is long term deterrents to violence.

What can each of us do to create a safer, more equitable community? This level of change looks incredibly hard at the individual level. But there are actions we can take that cumulatively make a big difference. The GMC has supported the Mayor’s Earn and Learn program for years. There is always more young people who want to be in the program than there are funds to support. We are looking at new approaches to internships, learning experiences and summer youth employment that work in today’s world of increased regulations, privacy issues and leaner teams to still provide a transformative experience for the young person and the employer.

The Safe Zone approach is another proven strategy that prevents violence from happening on the ground level. There is the opportunity to expand and further test this model over this coming summer.

There will be more to come from the Steering Committee under Reggie Moore and the Prevention Institute’s guidance, but for now if we want a safer Milwaukee, let’s invest in summer jobs and safe zones in Milwaukee.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter From the President: February 2017- Special Edition

Today celebrates the transition of Greater Milwaukee Committee Board Chairman from Ted Kellner to Rich Meeusen. Over the past two years, the GMC has had the pleasure of working with Ted on many initiatives and projects. He has been an incredible champion of the work of the GMC, his dedication apparent at each and every board meeting, members meeting, and community engagement.

 

The combination of his work ethic and love of Milwaukee reflects in his endeavors with Fiduciary Management, and that of the many civic and charitable organizations he is a member of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted, we are grateful for your service and wish you a lifetime of continued success.

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

and the entire Greater Milwaukee Committee Staff

Page 2 of 612345...Last »