How much of a mess are the funding plans for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena? So much that even Milwaukee Journal Sentinel arena-buildin’ reporter Don Walker is willing to say so:
Now, everything has become murky.
The owners have drawn a line in the sand with their current financial commitment.
Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a $220 million bonding plan, but spent most of his time on the presidential campaign trail.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has said the governor’s bonding number is too high; Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has said Walker’s plan was nearly dead, and he was working on an alternative.
Locally, one of the major tenants at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Marquette University, says it won’t put any money in the pot. The school says it prefers to be a tenant.
Mayor Tom Barrett has committed help, but says he doesn’t have money and won’t raise property taxes. County Executive Chris Abele says he doesn’t want to do anything that will “burden local taxpayers or result in cuts in services.”
Yes, it turns out that when you put up a $250 million Kickstarter for a new private basketball arena and the only rewards are NBA players continuing to pay their state income taxes, people don’t rush to throw coins in your jar.
Not that this means the Bucks arena plans are dead — rather, just that figuring out how to pay for buildings that almost never generate enough revenue to pay off their own construction bills is real hard. We now enter what could be thought of as the “flailing” phase of arena talks — though maybe the “racino phase” has a better ring to it — as marked by Gov. Walker already saying he’s open to any funding ideas that anybody has. Hey, there’s an idea: Crowdsource coming up with a way to pay for it! People are way more free with their ideas than they are with their $250 million.