Scott Walker Approves Legislation Financing New Stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., has approved legislation that will use public funds to finance a new stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.

The bill pledges $250 million dollars from Wisconsin taxpayers—half the cost of the $500 million stadium and the surrounding entertainment venue.

The Associated Press reports that:

The state taxpayer portion is capped at $80 million over 20 years, a cost that Walker said was more than reasonable to keep the team in the state.

On top of that, about $47 million from the city of Milwaukee will come in the form of a parking structure and tax increment financing. The rest of taxpayers’ share will come from bonds, a $4 million annual state payment with a corresponding reduction in Milwaukee County’s annual state aid, a $2 ticket surcharge and the extension of Milwaukee city and county taxes on hotel rooms, rental cars, food and beverages.

In return, the Bucks must stay in Milwaukee. The remaining costs will be paid by the team’s current and former owners.

Walker has argued that keeping the revenue gained from having the team in Wisconsin is worth the expense. Critics of the deal call it corporate welfare.  

“This is an important day for the state of Wisconsin,” Walker told reporters after he approved the legislation, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s not just important for Milwaukee, but the state as a whole. We think this is a good solid move as a good steward of the taxpayers’ money here in Wisconsin.”

Peter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks, said in a statement:

Today’s signing is the culmination of an extraordinary effort from a broad coalition to not only keep the Bucks in Wisconsin, but revitalize Milwaukee. The entire Bucks family is thankful for the leadership and bipartisan support of Governor Walker, state legislators, local officials, countless organizations and the community. We will continue to work with the city and county to move this public-private partnership forward as swiftly as possible and make this world-class sports and entertainment district a reality.

In July, the legislation was passed by the state Senate in a 21-10 vote and by the Assembly in a 52-34 vote.

Source material can be found at this site.

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