Milwaukee, Milwaukee County sales tax increases begin Monday

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(The Center Square) – Taxpayers in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are going to start paying more for a lot of things in the New Year.

The city and county’s sales tax increases begin Monday.

That means a new 2% sales tax in the city of Milwaukee, and a 0.4% increase in Milwaukee County’s sales tax, which means county taxpayers will now be paying 0.9%. The new taxes come on top of Wisconsin’s statewide 5% sales tax.

In all, the two new taxes mean people who buy a sandwich, a shirt, a car or a washing machine in Milwaukee will be paying nearly 8% in sales taxes.

Gov. Evers said the sales taxes were part of the new shared revenue package that will send more money to local governments across the state.

Evers called the shared revenue package “historic.”

“Wisconsin Act 12, providing a historic increase in support to local communities through shared revenue and ensuring the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County do not face an imminent fiscal cliff,” Evers said in a statement. “Before this increase, shared revenue payments from the state to local governments had been held flat for much of the last decade, and as a result, local communities have been asked to do more with less and have been forced to make difficult decisions to cut critical services, including public safety.”

Milwaukee’s mayor, Cavalier Johnson, said pretty much the same thing when he signed the new sales tax into law in July.

“We’ve accomplished something huge, something major, something extraordinary for our city,” Johnson said at the time.

Milwaukee’s 2% sales tax is expected to bring in nearly $200 million a year. Milwaukee County’s extra tax is expected to bring in $82 million a year.

The new taxes are earmarked for pensions and public safety.

Some Milwaukee aldermen are pursuing a lawsuit to fight the other restrictions in the new tax law, including a reworking of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, an order to return school resource officers to Milwaukee Public Schools and ban on spending any new money on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts or Milwaukee’s streetcar, The Hop.

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