Alderman José G. Pérez issued a resolution on Monday calling for a 10 percent decrease in the 2021 Milwaukee Police Department budget. Pérez says the money should be “reinvested to meet the demands of our neighborhoods.”
The Milwaukee Police Department receives just over 45% of the city’s general budget, or about $298 million. If adopted
Pérez’s resolution itself isn’t a budget proposal; in a press release, the alderman explains that “although the Common Council does not set police policies and procedures, it can urge police reform and community reinvestment through the budget process. This proposal will not decrease the 2021 budget for the Milwaukee Police Department, only the 2021 budget, adopted in November, can do that.”
Pérez’s resolution is co-sponsored by alders Milele A. Coggs, Marina Dimitrijevic, Cavalier Johnson, Ashanti Hamilton, Nik Kovac, Robert Bauman, Khalif Rainey, JoCasta Zamarripa, Chantia Lewis, and Russell W. Stamper, II.
The Milwaukee Police Department hasn’t responded, but boy oh boy were they getting snippy on Twitter last week.
Here’s the full press release:
It’s Time to Reform and Reinvest
Statement of Alderman José G. Pérez
June 15, 2020
This morning, I introduced, for immediate adoption, a resolution directing the City’s Budget Director to develop a model 2021 budget that reduces the Milwaukee Police Department’s budget by 10 percent. I am proud to be joined by 10 of my colleagues in sponsoring this resolution.
Our citizens have been marching in the streets for the past several weeks demanding change. They deserve to be heard. If adopted, this proposal will begin a community discussion of how we could make that change. Although the Common Council does not set police policies and procedures, it can urge police reform and community reinvestment through the budget process. This proposal will not decrease the 2021 budget for the Milwaukee Police Department, only the 2021 budget, adopted in November, can do that.
The Common Council receives the budget in late September. We then have one month to make changes to a document appropriating over a billion dollars, with thousands of lines. It is time to consider the impact a change in the MPD budget could have. This must be done far enough in advance so that these proposals can help inform the creation of the Mayor’s 2021 Proposed Executive Budget. It is time for the Common Council to be proactive in the budget process. We can no longer afford to be reactive.
Thirty days from now, I expect to see the model 2021 budget include real, manageable budget changes that can be reinvested to meet the demands of our neighborhoods.