No major Milwaukee Bucks arena news today (unless you want to count the head of the Wisconsin Center District calling the arena plan that would fire him “uncivilized,” which is a new epithet, if nothing else), so instead I direct you to my latest essay for the Washington Post’s online op-ed page, in which I dig into how Gov. Scott Walker has a bit of a double standard for what should be evaluated as “economic development”:
What governors like Walker are after here is something more: Selling sports projects as an investment that will pay off in jobs, in tax revenue, in the magic elixir known as revitalization. It’s an approach, it’s worth noting, that never gets applied to other budget line items, including some of Walker’s favorite targets. No, the University of Wisconsin system isn’t going to move to Seattle if it loses funding, but its students might — not to mention that all those unemployed English professors are going to have to seriously cut down on their grocery bills if they’re forced to take jobs at Applebee’s.
And when you’re done with that, check out the always-excellent Pat Garofalo at US News, who has a long update on how Walker’s position on the Bucks arena is pissing off some conservatives with a more consistent position on government spending. (They’re agin’ it! Unless, you know, it’s going to their pockets.) Not that this is necessarily going to hurt Walker politically — Wisconsin Republicans are still trying to figure a way to endorse the governor’s other budget ideas while not endorsing the arena spending, and presidential campaign donors probably have bigger fish to fry than what one candidate is doing for one local sports team — but as Garofalo writes, the arena plan is “unlikely to be a good investment of political capital if he has to twist arms to get it passed.” We shall see.