Often when there’s a debate over holding the line on taxes, County Park operations are brought up, as if Park expenditures are the fault for our high tax burden. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Last year, for every $100 that a Milwaukee resident paid in total property taxes, only $1.62 went to fund the 15,000-acre park system.
For 2008, the County Executive proposes cutting taxes devoted to Parks by 5.86%, compared to this year. The County Board’s Finance Committee alternative would impose a $24.2 million levy which amounts to a $2.1 million increase over this year’s budget. That increase would equate to an additional $4.41 on the annual property tax bill for a family living in a $130,000 house.
Neither funding alternative reaches the $26.9 million levy that was devoted to Parks in 1983. You read that right: the County is funding Parks at a level that’s less than what existed 25 years ago!
From 1983 to 2007, the County’s overall tax levy grew by 112%, outpacing inflation. Yet, during that same time, the County cut the Parks portion of that levy by 18.3%.
Our Parks aren’t the cause of high property taxes. Don’t let anyone tell you different.