Is the state GOP waging a war of Milwaukee? Mayor Barrett and his allies at the JS think so, devoting a front page story and lengthy editorial to the theme. The complaints center on the disagreements issue of residency requirements and a 2.1 mile downtown streetcar.
But does this constitute a war on the city? Hardly.
In fact, the state makes a significant investment in Milwaukee and, generally speaking, shoulders a larger percentage of the financial burden for education and social services for Milwaukee than it does for other municipalities around the state.
For example, state revenue accounts for 53.2% of MPS total revenue, while statewide the percentage is 44.1%. Other major revenue sources for MPS: property tax 25.1%, versus 43.0% statewide; federal revenue 18.8%, versus 8.7% statewide. Therefore, MPS is aided by state/federal governments at 62.9%, while statewide this number is only 52.8%.
In 201, out of a total state expenditure of $88.3 million on youth aids, nearly $40 million was spent in Milwaukee County – 40% of the statewide total.
In January 2013, 27% of all Medicaid or BadgerCare Plus enrollees were in Milwaukee County.
In calendar year 2012, Milwaukee County residents received $433,639,570 in FoodShare benefits, which is 37% of the total $1,177,814,176 in FoodShare benefit payments statewide.
Then there is entitlement reform and worker training in the upcoming budget:
According to Department of Health Services estimates, approximately 75,878 individuals receiving FoodShare benefits are able-bodied adults without dependent children who would need to participate in employment assistance and job training programs to retain FoodShare eligibility, under the Governor’s entitlement reform.
Of these, 34,155 (45%) are in Milwaukee County. The budget adds $36 million AF ($16.7 million GPR) for these services in FY15.
But what really makes the "war on Milwaukee" narrative absurd is the transportation budget. Take a look at this:
Direct Transportation Aids and Large Highway Projects in Milwaukee County
Hoan Bridge - All Funds, incl. G.O. Bonds
Zoo Interchange - All Funds incl. G.O Bonds
Transit Aids - to Milwaukee County
GTA and Connecting Highway Aids to Milwaukee
GTA and Connecting Highway Aids- to City of Milwaukee
GTA and Connecting Highway Aids- Balance of Milwaukee County*
Expressway Policing Aids
And finally, from earlier this month:
Madison—Governor Scott Walker announced progress on the Transform Milwaukee initiative one year after it was first announced; the historic, comprehensive effort aimed at growing the economy in the City of Milwaukee is showing significant progress in private and public investment.
"So far, private companies and businesses have invested $84.7 million of WHEDA funds and leveraged another $85.3 million in direct investment for a total of $170 million," said Governor Walker. "Halfway through our first two-year commitment to this initiative, that’s a phenomenal boost not only for Milwaukee’s economy, but for entire state."
Transform Milwaukee is focusing on restoring economic vitality to the industrial corridor, adjacent neighborhoods, and small business development connecting Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor, the Menomonee Valley, the Port of Milwaukee and the Aerotropolis. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) is committing $100 million over the next two years. An additional $100 million in private resources will bring the estimated total amount of investment in the first two years to $200 million.
This is a War on Milwaukee?