Wisconsin governor to propose “jock tax” for Bucks arena, but do so when he hopes no one is listening

Rich Kirchen of the Milwaukee Business Journal, one of the two reliable press mouthpieces for the Bucks arena campaign, reports that according to “sources close to the situation,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will announce plans for a “jock tax” to provide state subsidies for an arena project. He’ll reportedly do so in the next week, because next Tuesday he presents his state budget, and he wouldn’t want to create a “distraction” by, um, talking about things he wants to spend state money on?

Anyway, remember that a “jock tax” isn’t actually a tax: It’d just be the state taking all the income taxes it collects from Bucks players (and executives, and hot dog sales people) and writing a check to the Bucks owners in that amount every year. The theory, I suppose, is that without the Bucks, the state wouldn’t collect any of that money — except that 1) if people weren’t buying hot dogs at Bucks games they’d still have to eat somewhere, and employees there would be paying taxes, and 2) really anyone working or running a business in the state of Wisconsin could make a similar claim, and they all did so at once the state wouldn’t have any money to run a government at all. Though Walker might not actually mind that.

Meanwhile, the other reliable pro-Bucks local writer, Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote an article yesterday about how Detroit is hoping to pin its redevelopment hopes on a new arena (hint, hint). Sources cited in Walker’s article: the developer behind Detroit’s project, a pro-development (if “cautiously” so) Detroit councilmember and community activist, a real estate consultant, and the Detroit mayor’s office. It’s not quite Walker’s most impressive work, but in terms of one-sided reporting, it still gets the job done.


3 comments on “Wisconsin governor to propose “jock tax” for Bucks arena, but do so when he hopes no one is listening

  1. We are screwed. This state is one party rule. There will be a few republicans who will oppose this on principle. The majority are afraid to go against the governor. The democrats will want to pay back one of their own. Edens has donated money to the Clintons and the Democratic party. Hold on to your wallet fellow Wisconsinites.

  2. Too late, $220-million state bonding scheme is going in the budget. Jock Tax to pay for it, but if not the taxpayers of Wisconsin.http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/walker-jock-tax-will-cover-220-million-for-new-bucks-arena-b99433734z1-289935421.html

  3. I am a big Bucks fan and I want them to stay, but this looks like one of the worst public funding mechanisms imaginable. If this passes, businesses in Milwaukee that compete w/ the Bucks for talent (service employees, salespeople, creatives) will be at a big disadvantage. For example, the employer cost to have an $80,000/yr worker would be only $75,235/yr for the Bucks.

    I’d much rather see a sales tax, tourist tax, TIF or just about anything else be used to give the Bucks their kickback.