From Milwaukee County First, of which I am the Chair:
For many years, riders of the Milwaukee County Transit System has seen its routes get cut and the fares go up, as less and less money is available for it. Once a standard for the nation, it has been in steady decline. This year, it has been recommended by the current administration, contrary to all advice, to again slash routes by up to 40% and raise fares by charging a quarter for each transfer. This will have a devastating effect on the local economy, not just of Milwaukee County, but for the entire southeast region of Wisconsin.
Likewise, the Milwaukee County Parks System has seen cuts for each of the past 27 years. This year will be no different, except that it appears that the parks will suffer the most severe cuts yet. Some of the options being considered by the current administration is closing ALL of the outdoor swimming pools, closing both community centers, and cutting maintenance at the senior centers.
Also being threatened is the money that Milwaukee County puts towards the Emergency Medical System. Without this money being in the budget, there will be people in areas of Milwaukee County that will not receive paramedic services for medical emergencies.
Because of these growing concerns, the County Board repeatedly tried to get a referendum to the voters to see if they would approve of a sales tax increase to save these systems and give the voters relief on their property taxes. But each time, County Executive Scott Walker blocked the people from having the right to express themselves.
Finally, in November 2008, the Board was able to put the referendum on the ballot. The people spoke, and the referendum was approved. Unfortunately, despite the hard work of community-minded groups like Quality of Life Alliance and others, the proposed sales tax was distorted during the budget process, and ultimately vetoed by Governor Jim Doyle.
Without this dedicated funding source, the situation in Milwaukee County will quickly become untenable. That is why Milwaukee County First is asking you to join your voice to ours, and to the many others who also put Milwaukee County first, and are calling on Governor Doyle and the State Legislature to pass this sales tax, and to allow us to help ourselves before it is too late.
Please sign our petition:
and let those in Madison know that we will not quietly stand by and allow Milwaukee County to fall apart before our very eyes. It will only take a few seconds to sign the petition, and we will do the rest.
After you have signed the petition, please pass the word to your family, your friends, your neighbors and your coworkers, and ask them to sign the petition as well. Again the link to the petition is:
If we do this separately, we will be just whistling into the wind. Together, we will create a voice that those in Madison will have to hear.