MENOMONEE FALLS -- State Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) on Tuesday called for state funding cuts to the City of Milwaukee "unless steps are taken to dramatically cut crime."
Rep. Brandtjen said in a news release late Tuesday morning that "the violence and the crime that has plagued Milwaukee for decades has now begun to spill over into Milwaukee's suburbs," citing a incident in Washington County last week where five teenagers were arrested after a carjacking and high-speed pursuit.
"Families were forced to unlock their gun cabinets and instruct their loved ones to shoot to kill," Brandtjen argued.
Brandtjen placed the blame for Milwaukee's crime problem squarely on Mayor Tom Barrett in her announcement:
Mayor Barrett, the people of southeast Wisconsin will not sit by and watch your administration destroy the entire region with failed liberal policies and a 10 second “Tommy Tough Talk” sound bite. If you do not fill the hundreds of vacant police officer positions, apprehend and arrest car thieves, demand prison for repeat criminals and start standing up to the judges who let repeat offenders off easy you will be in my opinion “assisting and enabling” the very criminals who are responsible for the record number of shootings, car jacking’s and murders.
In a conversation with TODAY'S TMJ4, Rep. Brandtjen disagreed with critics who say cutting funds would only make the city's crime problem worse.
"This has to be a funding priority," Brandtjen said. "Milwaukee gets millions of dollars, this is the point where we say we have a real problem, we need to address it."
"A unsafe Milwaukee costs all of us...we might have to look at drastic measures to reclaim our city."
Brandtjen said she plans on introducing legislation to cut shared revenue funds that Milwaukee receives when the state budget is up for debate early next year.
The mayor's office responded to Rep. Brandtjen's comments with a brief statement Tuesday evening:
“Mayor Barrett is addressing public safety on all fronts and he would welcome the representative’s assistance in improving the criminal justice system.”