Wisconsin speaker vows to slash governor’s Bucks “jock tax” plan by more than half

One Wisconsin legislative leader has responded to Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to divert future Milwaukee Bucks player income tax revenue to pay for a new Bucks arena, and despite being a fellow Republican, he is not so thrilled with it:

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena has “zero chance” of passing the Wisconsin Legislature in its current form, Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told county officials at a meeting Wednesday.

What form would give it a better chance of passage, then?

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, a Republican who represents the northwoods section of the state, predicted the Legislature would cut the arena bond figure to $100 million.

“I actually think that that’s a reasonable number,” Vos said.

Vos wants to see the city and county of Milwaukee fill in the rest of the gap, which given that Walker is already expecting those taxpayers to chip in $50 million in arena costs, would push the project’s budget gap to $170 million, even if the state provides $100 million in income-tax kickbacks. That’s a hefty chunk of change, so even if the legislature approves a scaled-back version of Walker’s plan, that’s going to be a heavy lift.

Or, you know, the Bucks owners could decide that a new arena is so badly needed that they’d be willing to cover a bigger share of the costs — hahahaha, just kidding, we know that almost never works.

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6 comments on “Wisconsin speaker vows to slash governor’s Bucks “jock tax” plan by more than half

  1. The local Bucks insider (Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times) said months ago that the Bucks owners just want about $150M. So figure $100M from the state (after this utter charade of proposing $220M and cutting it back) and $50M from the city and/or county.

  2. Even Don Walker doesn’t believe that $150m figure:


  3. I agree with Ben that this reeks of political charade. Ask for twice as much as you need,then someone else can look like a hero for cutting it back. It is an old move.

  4. Oh, it’s entirely possible that Walker is asking for the moon, knowing that Vos will scale it back to something relatively less crazy. But right now we’re talking $100m state + $50m county/city + $150m Bucks + $100m Kohl = $400m, and that’s not going to get an arena built with the kinds of amenities that Edens and Lasry are looking for.

  5. Woelfel was claiming that minority investors and developers of the space around the arena will up the Bucks’ total as high as $200M, if necessary.

  6. That’d be great if it happens, but it seems pretty unlikely. Though I suppose we still have no idea where the arena will go or how much land it will take up, so there’s still a chance for an Arte Moreno–style “give us enough free land to develop, and we can fund the arena ourselves” plan.

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