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My initial reaction to a plan by a Republican member of the Assembly, formerly a Milwaukee County board member, to limit the size and scope of the board is an overreach by the state to hamper local control.
And then I began to think about the bloated institution that is Milwaukee County. The layers of redundancy with local agencies. What should be a coordinating body has become an unruly mess that is bloated and wasteful.
People have tried time and again to reform it from the inside but they are smacked down by those who benefit from the status quo. From the Journal Sentinel:
A newly sworn-in lawmaker - and former Milwaukee County Board member - is gaining traction with a plan that would allow voters to cut Milwaukee County Board supervisors' pay by 70% and slash their budget by 85%.
The plan came to light Monday as Republicans took control of the Legislature and promised to avoid the kind of divisive legislation that dominated the last two-year session. Democrats and Milwaukee County Board members said the proposal for Milwaukee County was exactly the kind that would spark a contentious fight.
A draft of a bill by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-West Allis) obtained by the Journal Sentinel would require a binding referendum to be held in April that would cut the 18 supervisors' pay to $15,000 a year and limit the County Board's budget to 0.25% of the county's total levy. That latter provision would require supervisors to fire almost all their staffs, according to County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.
While layoffs are never good, in this case it would return money to the minority taxpayers in Milwaukee County. They could, in turn, use their money to keep going a stable economy.
Milwaukee County has the reputation as a black hole by the rest of the state, where money goes in and never comes out. And while the county is large (in terms of the population it serves) it needn't be. It's duplicating many services that should be provided by the city and only coordinating county-wide services like transportation.
You know it's a winner when liberals like Chris Abele and conservatives like Robin Vos get behind the plan, both cited in the Journal Sentinel. And when Chris Larson says he's have to look at it but would probably reject it? That's the surest sign you'll see.