Either way, it is clear that there is bipartisan support, from the politicians, at least, to have the taxpayers upgrade the Brewers’ home field. Should we?
When it comes to spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, we must set sentimentality aside. Wisconsinites love their Brewers, but that does not mean that we should use the violent coercive power of government to extract money from all state citizens to pay for it. Outside of the contractual obligations for the district to pay for upgrades required by Major League Baseball, any further taxpayer funding must be evaluated according to firm financial principles and projections.
Will the taxpayers’ investment provide a return to the people that makes it worthwhile? Are there other options? Could the district sell the stadium to the Brewers or another private group? What is the cost of doing nothing and the Brewers leave? Who is responsible if there are expenses not uncovered by the various studies? At the end of the day, even if the financial projections justify an investment by the taxpayers, can the people really afford it in this economic climate? Sometimes even good investments must be passed over because there are better ways to spend the money.
The taxpayers deserve a transparent, rigorous, detailed financial discussion before lawmakers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a baseball stadium and obligate them to yet more decades of obligation to a private, for-profit company. The fact that Evers and Vos seem to agree on the need for funding the stadium should not be viewed as a bipartisan breakthrough. It should be viewed with skepticism and suspicion.
Everything but tech support.