Milwaukee: Fight underway to combat repressive Wisconsin Republicans’ shared revenue proposal
GOP wants more cops in schools and communities, and less police oversight
Milwaukee, WI – Earlier this month, Wisconsin Republicans introduced a proposal regarding the shared revenue – LRB-2938: Local Government Funding. This proposal increases Milwaukee’s city and county shared revenue if they agree to do the following: reinstate police officers in Milwaukee Public Schools, preserve current staffing levels, at the minimum, of police officers, fund the police pension through an increase in the sales tax, eliminate the policy creation power of the Fire and Police Commission (FPC), and require representatives from the police association to serve on the FPC.
“Simply put, this is a racist and politically repressive attempt to coerce Milwaukee into accepting a pro-cop bill. Milwaukee is heading towards fiscal insolvency this year, almost entirely due to the growing police budget and pension,” said Alan Chavoya, the outreach chair for the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “Republicans see this as an opportunity to revert progressive change in Milwaukee, and Mayor Johnson and County Executive Crowley seem poised to go along with it.”
On Friday, May 5, the Milwaukee Alliance held a press conference to officially announce the launch of their Fair Share campaign and denounce this anti-Milwaukee proposal. Following the passing of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 575 that requires the public release of video footage regarding critical incidents from the police, the Milwaukee Alliance understands the proposal as a direct shot against this victory. The Milwaukee Police Association (MPA) filed a temporary injunction against the FPC when the SOP passed.
“The MPA realizes that their arguments against the SOP don’t have much to stand on. Instead, with the help of their Republican friends, they are trying to change the law to get what they want,” said Omar Flores, one of the co-chairs of the Milwaukee Alliance.
“We demand a fair shared revenue. A fair share of the products of our labor and of what is owed to us. We demand the GOP to keep their hands off the FPC. Milwaukee deserves oversight power over the entities worsening the budget crisis, so we should be democratizing oversight, not disempowering it. We demand that police are kept away from public schools,” said Lauryn Cross, the other co-chair of the Milwaukee Alliance. “And we are demanding a town hall with Mayor Johnson and County Executive Crowley. No more backroom deals!”
According to various reports, Mayor Johnson and County Executive Crowley have been “negotiating,” and their past decisions supporting more police funding indicate that they are willing to comply with the proposal.
The Milwaukee Alliance was also joined by representatives of Black Leaders Organizing Communities and Students for Democratic Society – UW Milwaukee. This struggle around the shared revenue proposal is felt by a wide range of groups in Milwaukee. Shortly after the Milwaukee Alliance’s press conference, they also spoke at one co-hosted by the MPS School Board and Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT). In 2020, LIT successfully organized a campaign to remove MPD officers from their schools, so this proposal directly challenges the democratic process that led to their removal in the first place.
The fight against the Republican-led attack on Milwaukee is on. The Milwaukee Alliance intends on carrying on this struggle and uniting various forces around the city to defeat shared revenue proposals that have these absurd strings attached. Since city officials cannot be trusted with listening to the demands of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Alliance and partners are also pushing for community control over the resources in the city.