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?