Budget Brief

Milwaukee County 2017 Executive Budget

October 2016


Our analysis of the Milwaukee County Executive’s recommended budget focuses primarily on the proposed $60 vehicle registration fee (VRF). We analyze the factors that have created the County’s 2017 budget challenges and the alternatives that may exist to reduce or eliminate the fee. We also discuss other keys to understanding next year’s budget.

Key highlights of our analysis: 

  • Two key factors prompting consideration of the VRF are a huge backlog of infrastructure needs and a significant structural hole in the Milwaukee County Transit System’s budget;
  • New spending to enhance alternatives to incarceration for youth on a delinquency order and community-based behavioral health services reflect continued prioritization of human services programs in the budget;
  • Proposed staffing modifications in the Sheriff’s budget merit careful deliberation; and
  • Reduced health care spending benefits the County in 2017, but cannot be counted on in future budgets.