Wisconsin’s $250 Million Shell Game: Legislature Approves New Milwaukee Bucks Arena
The Wisconsin State Assembly voted Tuesday to spend $250 million in public funds on a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, a deal first proposed by Gov. Scott Walker -- you know, the same Scott Walker who approved of cutting $250 million from the University of Wisconsin budget earlier this year.
But this is sports -- and as you know, although he is running for President, where he would deal with scary foreign leaders every day, Walker still Fears the Deer. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
No one spoke against the measure, which passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote as Bucks coach Jason Kidd and team president Peter Feigin watched from the gallery. They made the rounds before and after the roughly hourlong debate, posing for pictures with both lawmakers and members of the public.
"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," Feigin said in a statement issued by the team.
You may not know, however, that Wisconsin has 99 seats in the State Assembly, so that means that 13 members didn't vote. Add to that the fact that no one spoke against it before the vote, and you have a government body who knew this wasn't the right thing to do, but didn't want to get their fingerprints on a decision that would have caused the Bucks to leave Wisconsin.
John Oliver addressed this on his HBO show a few weeks back:
Still one of my favorite lines: "Deer are not scary. They're timid forest ponies with sticks on their head. I do not Fear the Deer."
His bigger point is that studies have found that new sports stadiums do not help communities, financially or otherwise. The "Ripple effect" described in the PR campaign to secure public funding for the Bucks' new arena is a myth, said Oliver. And it is.
But more importantly, in a state where the governor is seen as a labor union slayer and cost-cutter, providing a billionaire sports owner with $250 million in public money is pretty much insanity.
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