Milwaukee stadium will be tough sell for lawmakers

Memo looks at bonding for new Bucks stadium
Milwaukee stadium will be tough sell for lawmakers

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says it won’t be easy to find the public money that the Milwaukee Bucks are seeking to help build a new arena.

The team wants to replace BMO Harris Bradley Center with a new downtown arena that could cost up to $500 million. Vos, a republican from Rochester, says Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry made a mistake by greeting President Barack Obama at the airport last month. He says the appearance is making it harder for him to persuade Republican legislators to support a financial plan for the proposed area.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Bucks have already come up with $300 million to fund the project, but it would still require some public funding.

Vos says the Bucks need to convince lawmakers that the arena would boost the local economy.

A memo by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau says $150 million in general obligation bonds could be supported to help finance a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The memo was written on Sept. 30 but not released publicly until Friday by Vos.

The memo says $150 million in bonds could be supported by the $12.7 million in Wisconsin personal income taxes paid every year by NBA players and other league employees. That assumes a 20-year repayment structure for the bonds.

Republican Majority Leader Jim Steineke says he is open to ideas, but thinks it will be a tough sell statewide.