$42,000 Milwaukee report finds that if Bucks arena is built, it will have to be paid for

A report by Milwaukee’s Public Policy Forum has investigated what it would take to build a new Milwaukee Bucks arena and arts centers, and the answer is — wait for it — money:

All the options reflect the bottom line: To build on Milwaukee’s reputation as having big-city amenities and small-town charm, “additional public investment” will likely be required.

For example, an increase in the Milwaukee County sales tax of 0.7% — seven-tenths of a cent on the dollar — could generate enough for a nearly $700 million package of improvements, including a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and an expanded Wisconsin Center, over eight years, the report says.

You know, no offense to the fine people at the Public Policy Forum — a good-government group that, according to its own website, is “known for its fierce non-partisanship and objectivity” — but I could have figured out how much of a sales tax increase it would take to build $700 million worth of crap, too. And I wouldn’t have even charged the $42,000 that Spirit of Milwaukee, the local private non-profit tourism board, paid PPF for this report.

This all seems to be part of the continuing push to position a new Bucks arena as a city necessity, and the only thing left to figure out is who, exactly, to extract the construction money from. To be fair, the PPF report does note that “any call to action involving new or enhanced public funding also must weigh the region’s larger infrastructure challenges, as well as the public value placed on individual cultural and entertainment assets.” To also be fair, PPF titled its report “The Show Must Go On?” But, hey, they included a question mark, and clearly any sentence ending with a question mark can’t be just a way of shilling for a particular point of view, right?


7 comments on “$42,000 Milwaukee report finds that if Bucks arena is built, it will have to be paid for

  1. Can’t believe you didn’t have a link to one of those infamous “George W. Bush on Mount Rushmore?” style questions that Fox News likes to use as headlines.

  2. Who would pay for that study, mp34?

    I’m pleased to see the study at least mentioned the concept of opportunity cost, though it didn’t list all the other things Milwaukee actually needs (rather than wants) to spend money on.

    I was struck this morning by the notion that sports team owners/leagues fund stadiums in exactly the same way lioness’ hunt prey: One sits out in the open distracting the prey’s attention. It moves just often enough to keep the prey focused on it, but not so much that the prey is spooked. Meanwhile, the sisters/aunts are completing a silent pincers movement that the prey won’t notice until their teeth are about to sink into it’s flanks/necks.

    Of course, the only difference is that lions do face some risk when hunting, particularly when they hunt large prey. Parasitic billionaire sports owners face no risk whatsoever. In fact, they are likely to be praised and lauded for stealing food out of the mouths of poor children.

    Which suggests an interesting photo op… supposing every team owner could have whatever subsidy he wanted, but had to agree to be photographed actually taking food from poor people and children as a condition of the grant.

    Would they still accept it? I think they would.

  3. John Bladen – I don’t know – maybe the local businesses & competing teams who would benefit, just like the ones who do when a league goes on strike? Remember the 2011 NBA lockout & the articles Neil posted on the aftermath?

  4. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Bucks AND Cavaliers soon depart their Rust Belt havens. I don’t see much of a future there.

  5. Neil I really have to quibble with you here about slamming this report as useless. As I have read both reports that they have put out for the Cultural Task Force, they are both really well put together and take a objective look at the cultural and recreational needs of the city and the county. The fact that the hype has been about a new arena in the media does not take away from the original focus of the task force to look into how Milwaukee can make it’s cultural venues, many in various states of financial distress, sustainable as well as it’s huge amount of recreational areas that are in significant need of maintenance.

  6. Well at least it is more honest results than the, if it is built it will be a great stadium (and any downsides will be negotiated after the upcoming election)