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Milwaukee County was facing difficult times, along with most of the rest of the country. The county had lost 5% in assessed values, which eroded its tax revenue, and the state legislature had enacted a tax freeze that limited what the county could do to offset those losses. Unions had agreed to some concessions, so labor costs were steady, but other costs were rising, while the county’s short-term investments were yielding less and other sources of revenue were also down.

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