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Wisconsin Assembly approves Milwaukee Bucks arena funding deal; Gov. Walker says he’ll sign it

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MADISON — The Wisconsin Assembly on Tuesday, July 28th passed a bill to have taxpayers pay $250 million to help pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena in downtown Milwaukee.

The bill passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote. The measure now goes to Governor Scott Walker -- who has been working with lawmakers to reach a deal.

The Wisconsin Senate passed the bill on July 15th with a 21-10 vote.

Bucks arena funding proposal

Bucks arena funding plan

Under the agreement, current and former Bucks owners will pay $250 million toward the $500 million cost of the arena. The taxpayer portion will eventually grow to about $400 million over 20 years.

Supporters say the new arena will bring jobs to Milwaukee and help improve the economy of the state. They say a new arena will help the city and state continue to move forward.

Bucks arena funding plan

Bucks arena funding plan

Bucks coach Jason Kidd watched the debate from the Assembly gallery.

The Milwaukee Bucks released the following statement from President Peter Feigin on the Wisconsin State Assembly arena financing vote:

“Today, our collective effort to create a world-class sports and entertainment district in the heart of Milwaukee took a monumental step forward thanks to the bipartisan leadership of elected officials in Madison. We’re incredibly grateful for the commitment of state, county and city officials to work together in a historic fashion to help shape this public-private partnership. There’s still work to be done and we look forward to building on this progress with the city and county, but the passage of legislation today makes our future much clearer. The Bucks will not only remain home in Wisconsin, but we’ll soon begin a transformative economic development project that will help revitalize our community and region.”

"This is a great day. It's real promise. It's the vision of our owners, of Senator Kohl, of really the state of Wisconsinto invest in the city of Milwaukee, to build this state," Bucks President Peter Feigin said.

"You`re not gonna get a perfect project, by any means, from anywhere. However, this is the biggest opportunity we have to move our city forward and ultimately, move the entire state forward," Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee) said.

Perhaps the two most noticeable "no" votes Tuesday came from Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee).

Rep. Bowen wanted naming rights money to go toward construction costs -- and Brostoff said Milwaukee County has no set way to pay its $80 million share after the Senate removed a plan for the state to collect unpaid debt within the county.

How Milwaukee County will pay its share remains one of the unanswered questions as it relates to the new Bucks arena.

"The $80 million is gonna be a huge cut to Milwaukee County and I don`t know how it`s gonna be made up. No one`s set any contingency plan," Rep. Brostoff said.

"They can still use that opportunity with the state -- it`s just not mandated as part of this proposal," Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said.

Supporters say there will be answers in the future -- a future they say just got much brighter.

"Will the new arena be hosting NBA Finals games within a few years? I`m not one to predict but I think we look forward to our future. We have a chance to grow, get better each day and our goal is to hold that gold trophy in that new arena," Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd said.

Governor Walker told reporters in Philadelphia Tuesday he will sign the Bucks arena funding bill.

As for Milwaukee County's share -- supporters say it's possible they'll come back in the fall and pass bills that will help Milwaukee County come up with the money needed to pay that $80 million.


  • El gato

    And the GOP puts it to us again! I’d never buy a Bucks ticket…even to see the new venue…so why do I have to help pay for this? Let the billionaires pay!

    • John brown

      But everyone benefits from economic growth in a city. We’re you complaining about the millions in tax money that Amazon got to set up shop in Kenosha?? And that owner is much richer than the bucks owners. Or do you complain about the tax money generated for the state by having the bucks here? It’s about much more than just basketball games

      • Croptastical!

        Mark my words… not one person will ever go on to retire from Amazon in Racine.
        Enjoy your can of cat food, old timer.

    • John brown

      I know right??? I had big plans for that dollar and change per year it’s gonna cost me. Screw jobs, economic growth and development

  • Larry LaGuardia

    Where do people come up with this being a big tax burden? They read or understand nothing. Blaming the GOP? It could only have passed with Democratic votes. It’s bipartisan. Sold out to the 1%? Do you not understand the value and the jobs that go with this? Seattle was begging to get the Bucks. They were following this in more detail than half the goofy posts here.

  • Patricia Simmons

    I do not wish to pay for a Bucks Arena. Milwaukee was a big part of why we did not get our Casino we voted for . I do not go to the Bucks or any area in Milwaukee for entertainment. Scot Walker has lied and lied. He will not get our vote.

    • hunter

      so do you let them move and the pay millions to keep up the bradley center, and why is it walkers fault , this was passed by the senate and the assembly, so what you are saying you dont go into milwaukee for brewer games ,festival, lake front? get a life !!!

  • Martez

    Honestly, i’m so tired of people crying about tax payers having to pay for a new arena. Is the $1.74/ month noticeably going to hurt your pockets that much? Are you really going to miss it? One trip/ per month to Starbucks for a tall late cost you double. For all of the people who complain that they don’t watch basketball and will never step foot in this arena, life isn’t fair, get over it!

  • Lynn Rohmann

    I was born in Milwaukee and im 56 Yrs and very happy that the new statium is moving forward , it only keeps our city growing and appealing to be in, other citys have dwindled , im so glad that people are smart , and diligent … never giving up
    Proud of my city and state
    Thank you

  • George Brunner

    What happened 2 no new taxes?that did’nt last 2 long.we could’ve used that money 2 fight crime in Wi.

  • Erik Braun

    An absolute ridiculous idea. Buddy Selig Memorial Stadium has already cost the taxpayers twice what it was supposed to. I Will be contacting my representatives, if I find they voted for this, reminding them I will not forget this a the next election. Also don’t bother telling me how little you think this will cost me per year, I do not need to be informed how much something should cost me, and how much you think I should be paying for something you like.

  • M

    Sad day for Milwaukee tax payers. We get screwed again with more taxes for the rich and the Admirals get screwed out of a place to play. People seem to forget the real reason the Bradley Center was built !! It was never for the Bucks !!

  • Croptastical!

    When do I get to vote on this?
    Oh that’s right… Wisconsin goverment doesn’t care what we think.

  • David

    Hard to have conversations with people that have no business sense what so ever. Simple cost/benefit analysis. Media has blown the whole story out of proportion. It was bi-partisan people.

  • Jeff

    Walker just lost my vote and so did my state senator and assemblyman. I’ve voted republican most of my life. But not no more. As a kid I was told there’s not a dimes worth of difference between the republicans and democrats, it took me 20 years to figure out that’s it’s true. This election my wife and I’ll will just stay home. The working poor paying for a bunch of cheap skate millionaires. And to think I voted for Walker twice, makes me sick!

  • jerry lambert

    Yuppers Scott has lost ALL OF MY FUTURE VOTES FOR HIM AS A RESULT OF HIS LYING ABOUT NO TAXPAYER FUNDING. He can kiss his presidential hopes goodbye too, we are going to raise all the hell we can to make sure he isn’t elected. IF ya don’t listen to the electorate you don’t belong in elected office. PERIOD!!!!

  • Rodb

    College dropout Walker was so concerned about tax payers so he denied the Menominee Kenosha deal when Menominees were willing to pay this entire deal saving taxpayers from paying anything. Again walker was only concerned about his self interest and his campaign contributors.

  • Mke4ever

    For those who say “let them go” is completely insane.1st off the bucks have been in milwaukee longer then you and your moma.2nd they make the state more money then you or i will. 3rd and final its plain and simple you dont like it wi residents can move to seattle and pay higher taxes then milwaukee minus a nba team lol jk you can stay

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