Governor Scott Walker met with reporters today and announced officially that there would be money made available upcoming budget for a new multi-use arena in Milwaukee. Walker announced his budget plan would include $220 million to be invested into an arena.
Walker’s budget must be approved by the state legislature, but he has the ability to veto approvals from the legislature. In June 2013, the governor issued 57 vetoes before signing the budget.
When explaining his plan for setting aside arena money, his big thing was protecting existing revenue streams for the state. He spoke specifically about the jock tax and revenue that’s coming into Wisconsin directly from NBA players and personnel who visit. Look at this chart he made!
From 2017 on, state will lose $9.3 mil/yr if NBA moves Bucks out of WI. Here is data from WI Department of Revenue: pic.twitter.com/BbtG1sHSzt
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) January 27, 2015
The question that may be on your mind if you’re a reader located in Wisconsin? Am I going to have to pay an extra nickel for this thing the next time I buy a bag of Funyons at Walgreen’s? It sounds like you aren’t. According to the Journal-Sentinel, Walker’s plan ‘does not employ any sales taxes to pay for debt service.’
Between the $150 million committed by current Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan and the $100 million gift pledged by former Bucks owner Herb Kohl on his way out, Milwaukee had publicly announced the gathering of $250 million in private funds. Whether they have any other private commitments remains to be seen. But between that $250 million and the $220 million from the state of Wisconsin, the Bucks are well on their way to landing all the necessary funds for a new arena.
The Bucks responded to Walker’s announcement with a statement from President Peter Feigin.
“We thank Gov. Walker for his leadership and commitment to building a transformative, multi-purpose arena that will help revitalize Milwaukee,” said Feigin. “The governor’s support brings Wisconsin closer to creating a new state-of-the-art venue and entertainment destination that will become an economic catalyst for the entire state. We look forward to working closely with Gov. Walker, the state legislature, local officials and the entire community to make this vision a reality.”
As Howie Magner put it on Twitter, it does seem like the question of the arena at this point has become one of “where will it go” rather than “will it be built”.