Build us a new modern arena by 2017 or we will leave town. Sacramentians are familiar with this sentence from the National Basketball Associations playbook and by golly, next fall Sacramento will open the ultramodern Golden One Center Downtown, the newest NBA Arena( I mean Entertainment Complex) in the nation. Until the city of Milwaukee opens its new NBA Arena( I mean Entertainment Complex ) in Downtown Milwaukee in the fall of 2017.
In July, Wisconsin’s Governor and GOP Presidential Candidate Scott Walker cut $250 million dollars from the 13 four-year universities and 13 two-year campuses University of Wisconsin system. He initially proposed cutting $300 million from the system.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says, Wisconsin is already spending less on higher education than all of its Midwestern neighbors and is one of only six states that have approved or are considering reducing higher education funding for the next fiscal year
On August 12th, Governor Walker signed a bill approving $250 million dollar in public funding for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks
Bloomberg view calls the signing,”A fly in the face of both Walker’s presidential campaigning as a fiscal conservative and his insistence that there isn’t enough money for things like public education or living wages.” “Walker can talk all he wants about lowering taxes and cutting waste, but when all is said and done and you include $174 million in bond interest over 20 years, he’s sinking upwards of $400 million into a stadium for a team owned by billionaire hedge-fund managers in a state with a projected 2.2 billion deficit.
Like Sacramento, if the citizens of Milwaukee voted on this arena, it would have failed at the ballot box. In an Marquette University poll . 67% of people polled in the Milwaukee Media Market opposed public funding. Statewide only 9% supported public funding for a new arena.
The people of the great state of Wisconsin have low tolerance for public funding for professional sports. In the early nineties Major League Baseball (Milwaukee Brewers) wanted a new stadium, it they didn’t get a new stadium (you know).
The citizens didn’t want to fund a new stadium. Politicians proposed a one percent sale tax increase on the citizens in Milwaukee county and the surrounding counties of Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha. The taxes was very unpopular. State Senator George Petak initially promised to vote against the tax and changed his mind at the eleventh hour. A special recall election was held and George Petak became the first Wisconsin legislator to be successfully recalled from office
A combination of Democrats and Republican legislators supported the Arena Deal. Time will tell if there will be repercussions at the ballot box next year. Citizens are talking notes.
As for Scott Walker, he has some “Splanin” to do. At one point the fiscal conservation will have to tell the potential voters why he chooses Basketball over Public Education