Milwaukee Mayor: City bankrupt by 2025; Vos: Republicans done negotiating' local aid.

AuthorSchuster, Steve
PositionCavalier Johnson and Robin Vos

Byline: Steve Schuster

By Steve Schuster and The Associated Press

As Wisconsin has more than a $6 billion surplus, cities across the state are struggling with a lack of local funding -- Milwaukee is no exception. These funds are used to cover basic services, including police and fire protection, public works and emergency response communications.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, along with leaders of other municipalities, warned lawmakers last week that the city faces bankruptcy by 2025 without help from Madison.

Despite the record surplus and city government scrambling for funds, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Wednesday that Republicans were "done negotiating" on a bill that would have increased state aid to local government.

Instead, Vos unveiled a new proposal that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the GOP-controlled Senate have yet to agree upon.

The Assembly passed the latest version, but Evers was not included in the discussion that led to the latest proposal, which boosts the increase in aid for local governments from at least 10% to 15%. However, there are certain provisions Milwaukee and Evers had objected to, including giving Milwaukee less funds than other cities throughout the Badger state. The city and county of Milwaukee would only see a 10% increase, but could ask voters for more.

"We are done negotiating," Vos said. "We have negotiated in good faith literally for months."

The Assembly passed it 56-36, with all Republicans in support except for three who joined all Democrats in opposing it. The measure now goes to the Senate, where its future is uncertain.

The bill to increase state aid tolocal governments will likely not have a provision calling for Milwaukee to get approval from voters before raising sales taxes, the Senate Republican majority leader said Thursday.

Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu told The Associated Press that he does not expect that provision to be a part of the bill the Senate will pass, likely in early June.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu did not immediately return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press. Vos did not say if the Senate agreed to the latest version of the bill.

"Is this bill perfect? Hell no it's not perfect," said Republican Rep. Tony Kurtz, the measure's sponsor. But he emphasized that Milwaukee officials, Democratic lawmakers, Evers and those representing cities, counties, towns and villages have all been involved with crafting the...

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