August 25, 2017

Volume 3 Issue 18

State Representative Janel Brandtjen

Milwaukee Is On The Verge Of Economic Collapse

Early this week Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett revealed his intentions to ask the Legislature to pave the way for a half of a cent sales tax increase for the City of Milwaukee. Currently, the police budget is more than the cities entire property tax revenue, and shared revenues payments from the state have been decreasing. Barrett cites the rising cost of hiring and maintaining police officers as the main driver in needing a tax increase. We should keep in mind that all urban areas around the country share similar challenges, however Milwaukee seems to be heading in a downward spiral that may be hard to rebound from. There are many issues that need to be solved long before taxes are raised.

  1. The Mayor and his city government are in charge of a police department that they themselves do not support. This has created a volatile atmosphere between citizens who suspect the police of targeting people of color and the police who are simply trying to keep crime from boiling over.

  2. Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn has enacted policies that limit police officers ability to fight crime, therefore enabling gang members to “do their business” with impunity. Milwaukee has become safe for criminals and unsafe for law abiding citizens. (Hint: That’s really bad for business.)

  3.  Judges in Milwaukee no longer treat crime seriously. Serious offenders are set little to no bail, and for those who actually show up to court, they receive light sentences.

  4. District Attorneys continuously drop gun charges and plea bargain criminals down to minor infractions with little or no jail time.
    The correctional system does not return repeat offenders who are out on parole or probation back to prison. Someone who commits a crime while enjoying the leniency of parole or probation should be in jail, and that’s a no brainer.

  5. Property taxes are out of control. There is declining interest in living in Milwaukee and the reasons are fairly simple. According to Discover Milwaukee, in 2015 the property taxes on a $225,000 home in Milwaukee is $6,457 and in Brookfield the taxes are $3,818. That’s $220 a month more in property taxes to live in Milwaukee. This tax disparity puts further downward pressure on property values in Milwaukee. Milwaukee has failing schools, Brookfield has excellent schools. Milwaukee is a high crime area, Brookfield is very safe.

  6. The business climate in Milwaukee is bad and getting worse. Investors are no longer putting their resources into areas that are too risky for their property or their personnel. Business activity creates the jobs needed to stimulate the economy but until the safety issue is addressed businesses will not invest.

 Mayor Barrett and the rest of Milwaukee’s government needs to set priorities for the City of Milwaukee that makes sense. Safety is the key to economic development. The article I’ve linked here demonstrates how bad the problem has become in Milwaukee.    

 Foxconn Update

Last week I voted yes to move the Foxconn deal forward. This deal represents historical investment opportunities for the state. This week the Joint Finance Committee held a hearing in Sturtevant, Wisconsin on the proposal and I expect the bill to move forward quickly. 

 Summer Interns Saved The Day

A special thank you to our interns for the summer. Maggie Nowakowski and Steve Knopp filled in gallantly for our Legislative Assistant Evan Hafenbreadl who was serving our country in the National Guard. Thanks and well done!

God Bless Wisconsin!



                                        Thank you Steve and Maggie!




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