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2213, 16 Apr 15

Nobody Supports Taxpayer Debt for Arena

Well, almost nobody

MILWAUKEE —Wisconsin voters do not want the state to borrow money to pay for a new Bucks arena. That’s what the Marquette Poll released Thursday shows.

The governor said just give it time.

When voters across Wisconsin were asked about a legislative proposal for the state to borrow $150 million to help fund an arena, 79 percent opposed the idea, and 17 supported it.


Only 29 percent support that idea in the Milwaukee area, and across the rest of the state, it’s just 9 percent.

This isn’t surprising. The comments in the story are interesting.

In a conference call from his trade mission in Spain, Walker said he believes people will support the arena when they realize the state could lose a lot without it.

“Well, when I sit down with people and say, ‘If we don’t do anything there’ll be approximately a $10 million hole per year in the budget going forward, and the state will have this $100 million white elephant to deal with in terms of the BMO Harris Bradley Center into the future,’ people feel very different than just saying, ‘Do you think there should be public support?’” Walker said.

That may be, but if Walker wants this, he’s going to have to come back to Wisconsin and sell it. Less than 10% of the people from outside of Milwaukee support this and, in case you didn’t notice, most of the members of the legislature are not from Milwaukee. It’s a tough sell for them to their constituents.

And Bauman is a trip.

“A 1 percent sales tax in Milwaukee County that would be used to fund the capital costs for a new arena,” Bob Bauman said.

In a plan he laid out Thursday, increasing the county’s sales rate to 6.6 percent would bring in $125 million in annual revenue.

He said it would cover the local portion of a new arena, plus maintenance costs for county parks, buses and other cultural amenities.

The lefties have been pining for a standalone tax to fund parks and cultural things for a long time. Some of them see the push for public Arena funding as a means to get this wishlist item done. But with less than a third of Milwaukeeans supporting public debt for the Arena, how many of them are going to support paying higher taxes for it? I don’t see the desire for a new Bucks arena working as a driver for a new tax.

The likelihood of state funding for an arena just got a lot slimmer. How can a legislator from Mellen support a plan that the folks in Milwaukee, who would benefit most, don’t support?



2213, 16 April 2015


  1. Gee

    What? “Nobody” supports state funding of the arena?

    Walker does.

    Walker now is a nobody.

    And the “lefties” have been pining for this?

    Walker now is a “leftie.”

    What is in the water in West Bend? You could bottle and sell the stuff for its mindbending effects.

    (Admittedly, tossing Bauman into the mix muddles understanding of this, because he belongs only in the Party of Bob Bauman — a party of one.)

  2. Northern Pike

    For better or worse, it seems like every politician, Republican or Democrat, gets sucked into the arena/stadium deals. Tommy Thompson wasn’t going to be the governor who let the Brewers leave. Tim Pawlenty wasn’t going to be the governor who let the Twins leave. Mark Dayton wasn’t going to be the governor who let the Vikings leave. It never changes.

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