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Barrett calls residency change payback, vows to fight it

Barrett calls residency change payback, vows to fight it

By Jon Byman. CREATED Jul 1, 2013 - UPDATED: Jul 1, 2013

MILWAUKEE - With the stroke of the Governor's budget signing pen this weekend, Milwaukee's residency rule has moved out of the state statues and moved into the history books.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has fought hard to keep the rule that requires city workers, police officers, firefighters and teachers to live in Milwaukee.  He couldn't be more clear how he feels about the rule being jettisoned as part of the budget, "it is a kickback pure and simple."

Barrett says Republicans are paying back employee unions who supported the Governor.

"We're going to do what we can, working with the City Council to see what options, if any, remain for us," Barrett said.

There are still some restrictions on residency for some workers.  But technically, workers could start moving out of the city now.

The Mayor says he wishes he could have negotiated through collective bargaining so that the city would have gotten something in exchange for workers being allowed to move away.

The concern is that many city workers, like police officers and firefighters, will move out of the city.  That means people making good salaries will leave.  More importantly, if it happens, it will put downward pressure on property values in neighborhoods where city workers tend to live.