Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 21, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — No wonder so many Milwaukee city employees are fleeing the city.
Milwaukee taxpayers would face a disastrous increase in property taxes, shaking down $640 million in additional annual spending to operate Milwaukee Public Schools, under a scenario contemplated by an ad hoc education referendum committee.
That’s more than the $570 million the state Legislature and Gov. Tony Evers approved in additional spending for the entire state public education system — over the next two years.
But $640 million would buy a top-of-the-line education, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported the story.
With that kind of money, MPS ought to be able to place each of its 77,000-plus students in an Ivy League school upon graduation.
In a district where a dismal number of students can read, write, and solve math problems at grade level, Milwaukee doesn’t need $640 million more; it needs a miracle.
The scenario would more than double local property tax bills, a figure that shocked members of the community committee. Even Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin, chairman of the panel, found the scenario off-putting. And this is a guy who unabashedly asked state taxpayers to fork over $250 million for the NBA basketball franchise’s gilded arena.
The committee is charged with coming up with recommendations to the school board, which is fixed on taking a spending referendum to voters next year. Some committee members suggested not recommending a dollar figure at all, but leaving the final number to the school board.
Seriously seeking $640 million more in taxpayer money for a failing school system should embarrass anyone.
A recently released study shows city employees have exited the city in droves since the state Legislature removed Milwaukee’s long-standing residency requirement.
With these kinds of property tax-busting ideas coming out of the Milwaukee education referendum committee, expect to see a continued exodus.