Letters from the President

Mayors, village presidents may vote on Milwaukee County sales tax proposal in October

A proposal advanced by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and others to increase the sales tax in Milwaukee County by 1 percentage point has yet to win the endorsement of the county’s municipalities, but that may change Oct. 14. The Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC), which consists of Abele and the mayors and village presidents of 19 municipalities, is scheduled to meet that day at St. Francis City Hall. The council previously scheduled the meeting for Sept. 23 but delayed the discussion “in order to research and respond to each community’s questions,” said ICC chairman Bryan Kennedy, who is Glendale’s mayor. At the ICC meeting Sept. 9, mayors and village presidents sought info

Milwaukee business, nonprofit groups plan big community investment fund

Some of Milwaukee’s largest business and philanthropic organizations plan to create an investment fund to promote economic development and affordable housing in neighborhoods surrounding downtown. The organizers don’t have a targeted dollar amount yet, but $50 million has been floated conceptually, said Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The discussion is an offshoot of the MKE United planning effort, which aims to promote investment, housing affordability and employment in neighborhoods that haven’t enjoyed the post-recession building boom as much as Milwaukee’s downtown. “It will be a fund that will enable us to make the kind of long-term investing, and have the pa

The Commons: How to retain MKE students through innovative programming

Milwaukee has a great college ecosystem but has had trouble retaining talent over the years, a trend that needs to be reversed in order for our city to grow. Lately, I have noticed a lot of momentum: new developments, programming and business growth within our city. Case in point: I had the opportunity to sit down with three recent graduates who participated in The Commons Innovation Fellowship Program. These scholars have all chosen to begin their post-collegiate careers in Milwaukee, even though that was not their initial plan. What is The Commons? The Commons is an organization that facilitates collaboration between a growing network of southeast Wisconsin colleges and universities, the l

To hire and heal at the same time: Wisconsin employers pilot new trauma-responsive job programs

A little more than two years ago, veteran Wisconsin entrepreneur Bill Harrigan ripped up all his old business plans and relaunched Grafton-based Harrigan Solutions around ideas that aren’t taught in business school. The man with a marketing degree immersed himself in brain science. Harrigan was determined to hire folks many might turn away — people with unresolved psychological traumas that stem from exposure to extreme violence, neglect, abuse and abandonment. Most of his 30 current hires are ex-offenders. “This is about neuroscience,” Harrigan said about the job-training curriculum he designed. Harrigan Solutions belongs to a growing handful of pioneers who are experimenting with new ways

Sales Tax Increase Proposed In Milwaukee County

Revenue Generated Would Ease Property Tax Burden Milwaukee County leaders are proposing a 1 percent local sales tax increase that could be reinvested into the community through property tax relief and refurbishing the county's aging buildings. State Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, and state Sen. La Tonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, plan to introduce a local option sales tax to the Wisconsin Legislature this fall. If approved, a referendum would be brought to Milwaukee County voters in Spring 2020. The proposed plan could bring in an extra $160 million in the first year, with more than 25 percent of that money projected to come from visitors and non-residents, according to the county. The additional

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