Think You Can Do A Better Job Figuring Out Arts & Culture Funding in Milwaukee? Test Your Ideas

Jun 9, 2015

You might remember the game Sim City... It had users create and manage a city, making key decisions along the way about what to build, how much to spend and how to prioritize.

A new website developed by Marquette University and the Public Policy Forum, or PPF, takes a page from the Sim City playbook. But in this case it doesn’t ask you to develop a new city, it asks you how you would fund the one we live in.

"This site really allows the user to go in and see for him or herself, how much would a tenth of a cent sales tax raise in Milwaukee County, vis-à-vis a 30 percent per pack cigarette tax or a small beer tax," PPF president Rob Henken says.

The website is based upon PPF's study, which looked into entertainment and cultural institutions funding. It allows the public to share a plan for their perfect city. Matt Parlow, associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of law at Marquette says that public forums is nothing new at the Marquette Law school. He sees it as "Milwaukee's public square."

Henken says, "this is really an opportunity for people to go in, use the site, develop their own plans for what they would like to see happen in terms of funding our cultural and entertainment needs."

Although each plan can be shared via social media, there is no plan to collect the date. "I think our interest was spurring community conversation on it - not to have any sort of end goal that we thought should be had - but really to help people learn about the issues and then be able to discuss it with one another," Parlow says.