Keep Bucks Arena Deal Out of Budget    

Senator Nass:  Issue should be taken up as separate bill

Senator Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) is calling on Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to keep any Milwaukee Bucks arena deal out of the 2015-17 Biennial State Budget.  As closed door talks continue on the level of state taxpayer involvement for a $500 million downtown Milwaukee arena, the public’s opposition continues to grow as evidenced by the recent Marquette Law School poll results.

“The people of Wisconsin have a right to know how their elected officials vote on this major issue.  The only way to insure the best deal possible for taxpayers is through a separate bill that will pass or fall on the merits and the ability of each legislator to vote their constituents’ will on public financing for an arena,” Nass said.

Nass noted that placing the arena issue in the budget is a political tactic to get a deal passed without having members directly vote on public financing, since Republicans will eventually pass the overall budget sometime in June.

“Placing the arena deal in the budget eliminates the public’s ability to hold legislators accountable and allows most to claim they didn’t support it.  It’s quite possible that a majority of legislators will claim opposition to the arena deal after budget passage, but the taxpayers will be on the hook anyway,” Nass said.

Nass reiterated his opposition to the plans currently under consideration: (1) Governor Walker’s $220 million state bonding plan; and, (2) $150 million state loan with undisclosed details on how or who will pay back the loan.

“The City and County of Milwaukee have shown little interest in direct funding for a new Bucks arena.  If the citizens of the city and county that will most benefit from a new arena can’t support significant local funding, then why should I force my constituents to pick up the tab through massive state financing,” Nass said.