Hundreds of Wisconsin firefighters march in Milwaukee protesting proposed cuts
More than 200 firefighters from all over Wisconsin marched to Milwaukee City Hall Tuesday to protest proposed cuts to the department in mayor Tom Barretts 2018 budget plan.
Firefighters say it's not only dangerous to residents, but dangerous to firefighters themselves.
"The number one casualty of firefighters is not having enough firefighters on scene to adequately do the job," said Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association.
Mayor Tom Barrett said the problem is state law handcuffing Milwaukee. Barrett says Madison takes in more tax dollars from the city than it gives back, and won't let Milwaukee raise it's own sales tax.
"My view is they've actually come to the wrong building because where I could use the help from firefighters is convincing the governor and the state legislature to either give us one more shared revenue, or two, to give us the authority to give them a local sales tax so we could support them," Barrett said
There is no money in the 2018 budget scheduled to be used on the street car, but Alderman Robert Donovan said the $128 million project sends the wrong message to the state leaders Barrett is trying to negotiate with.
"For whatever reason it's become a priority for the mayor," Donovan said. "That sends the wrong message to Madison. That priority ought to be public safety, saving and adding the appropriate number of firefighters and police officers that we need."
Barrett said he needs more help from other city leaders reaching out to the state.