MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Governor Scott Walker says he could reveal an alternative plan for the new Milwaukee Bucks arena by the end of this week -- using public money to help finance the downtown arena.
Walker says city of Milwaukee, state and Milwaukee Bucks officials continue to go through a series of options as it relates to a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.
Republican lawmakers have criticized Governor Walker's initial plan. That called for using $220 million in state arena bonds, but critics said that plan uses too much state money. Under this initial plan, the state would pay off those bonds with a projected increase in NBA players' income taxes.
Last week, the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated under that plan, the state wouldn't pay principal on the bonds until at least 2028. The LFB memo estimates the state would have to pay an additional $268 million in interest, leaving the state with a total fiscal effect of more than $488 million.
"I think it`s just an alternative. We put that on the table as one option," Walker said.
Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, the current owners of the Bucks and former owner Herb Kohl have pledged a combined $250 million towards the arena.
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"It involves not only our Legislature leadership -- Senator Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos, that I typically meet with on a weekly basis, but also representatives of the city of Milwaukee, the county of Milwaukee as well as the Bucks and I believe in the end we will find a viable alternative. We`re working with members of the legislative leadership, the city of Milwaukee and the county, and we`re having meetings even this week on that and once we reach a conclusion, we`ll be announcing that fairly shortly," Governor Walker said.
Walker says the alternative plan would not siphon off any tax revenue from the state's existing tax base or rely on any new taxes.
The Upper 90 Sports Bar is located a half-block from the BMO Harris Bradley Center. General Manager Dan Moore says he's encouraged by the news of an upcoming arena announcement.
"Obviously, our business -- I don`t wanna say depends on it -- but would be affected greatly by it," Moore said.
Whether it is increased city or county contributions or the Bucks' owners chipping in more, Moore says he hopes officials can find an alternative that leads to a new arena next door.
"I`m pretty confident that a deal will get done and the stadium will be in downtown Milwaukee," Moore said.
It has been reported that in the Bucks' sale agreement, the NBA can buy back the team if there is not significant progress on a new arena by the end of the 2017 season. However, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says it hasn't seen any documentation of that.