Earlier this week, Scott Walker signed the bill that put $250 million (actually $400 million after interest is added in) of taxpayer money to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Even though he couldn't find money to fund public schools, the university system, Badger Care, or even money to pick up roadkill, he found money for the arena.
There are very few people who are calling this a good deal. Josh Benjamin at Forbes stated in a very good way:
Though Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has already signed a bill that calls for $250 million of taxpayer money to go towards a new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, the reality of the matter is that the team itself should be paying for that kind of luxury.
As was reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the bill calls for taxpayers to cover exactly half the cost of a $500 million arena over the next twenty years and in exchange, the Bucks will not move to Las Vegas, Seattle or any other city in the market for a professional basketball franchise. Noble as the cause may be, particularly since the Bucks have been in Milwaukee since 1968, this deal stinks to high heaven.
First off, more important necessities are being sacrificed for this arena. According to Jordan Weissmann of Slate, citing Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post, Walker cut $250 million from the state’s education budget, and is now asking state taxpayers to pay for half the cost of this proposed arena, with the other half coming from current and past team owners. The $250 million that taxpayers contribute will also go up to $400 million with interest and given how Wisconsin already has a $2.2 billion budget deficit, cutting funding for education and asking the public to finance a new arena is along the same lines of quitting one’s job, then asking friends and family to help pay for a new big-screen TV. It’s a nice thing to have, but a luxury that one can ill afford given certain circumstances.
To make things even more intolerable, Walker tried to deny that politics played a role in this deal:
“So, it has nothing to do with politics. That’s just ridiculous,” Walker said. “If it was about politics, there is no way I would do this deal. I don’t know the owners. I don’t care about the primary owners. I care about the taxpayers.”
He doesn't know the owners? Really?
He doesn't know Jon Hammes, one of the owners who just so happened to donate $15,000 to Walker and other Republicans? He doesn't know Jon Hammes, who just so happens to be the finance co-chair of Walker's presidential campaign?
We know that Walker is a pathological liar, but geez, it's like he's not even trying anymore.