UPDATE: Walker signs bill to fund new Milwaukee Bucks arena

(WITI-TV)
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UPDATED Wednesday, August 12, 2015---8:57 a.m.

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that commits $250 million in taxpayer money to pay for a new arena for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

The presidential candidate signed the measure into law Wednesday at the Wisconsin State Fair Park, surrounded by team officials, state lawmakers and others.

Taxpayers ultimately will pay about $400 million, including interest, over the next two decades. Current and former team owners will spend another $250 million on the arena and keep the Bucks from leaving the state.

The deal cleared the Republican-controlled Legislature with bipartisan support.

Opponents argued taxpayer money should not go toward building an arena for a privately owned sports franchise. But Walker and supporters say it will cost taxpayers more to lose the team.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 12, 2015---8:50 a.m.

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (WITI)---Governor Scott Walker will sign the Milwaukee Bucks arena funding bill on Wednesday, August 12th at State Fair Park.

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

The bill passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote.

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

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.

The Milwaukee Bucks released the following statement from President Peter Feigin after the bill passed the Assembly:

“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.”

Perhaps the two most noticeable “no” votes in the Assembly 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.

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.

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 5, 2015---12:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign a bill providing $250 million in taxpayer money to pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks stadium next week.

Walker's spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Wednesday that Walker will sign the measure next week. She says more details will be released later.

Wispolitics.com posted on its website an invitation from Walker's office to a Bucks bill signing for Aug. 12 at the State Fair Park Exposition Center in West Allis, just outside of Milwaukee.

The Legislature passed the Bucks arena financing bill on bipartisan votes in both the Senate and Assembly after team leaders threatened to leave Wisconsin if the deal did not get done.

Opponents argued no taxpayer money should go toward an arena for a privately owned team.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, July 28, 2015 --- 5:11 p.m.

The Milwaukee Bucks are likely staying in Wisconsin. A financing plan passed by the state legislature is just waiting on Governor Scott Walker's signature.

In a rarely seen bipartisan vote (52-34), the state assembly passed the $500 million Bucks financing bill out of the legislature on Tuesday.

"This deal is a good one for Wisconsin taxpayers no matter where they live," said Speaker Robin Vos (R- Rochester).

"We wanted to make sure the taxpayers would be better off by the Bucks staying then they would be if they left. Clearly that's the case, we will have more revenue year after year as a result of the Lebron James's of the world coming here and paying taxes then we would if we didn't do this deal," said Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

The plan requires Bucks owners to cough up half of the $500 million, and taxpayers will cover the other $250 million.

Here's a breakdown of where the tax money comes from:

If you do not live in Milwaukee County, only the taxpayer dollars you pay to the state will be used. The state has agreed to pay $4 million each year for 20 years, plus a one time $10 million dollar payment. That's $90 million--- the other $160 million will be financed out of Milwaukee County.

Some local lawmakers who voted no, say it's not a good decision for our area.

"I represent my district and my district tells me that the right vote for me is to prioritize. And the Bucks, as important as it is to the state, is not the top priority," said Rep. Gary Hebl (D- Sun Prairie).

But according to a spokesperson with Department of Administration, keeping the Bucks in Wisconsin leaves the state better off than if they were to leave. They said players and coaches bring the state $6.5 million each year in income taxes, so the proposed $4 million the state would pay each year, still leaves a net gain of $2.5 million. Not to mention other revenues.

"The thing that I'm the most excited about is the opportunity of the development around the arena, so it's not just about putting money into an arena to be utilized for entertainment, it's about all the economic development," said Vos.

Governor Walker told reporters that it's a good deal all the way around, and he is ready to sign the bill.
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UPDATED Tuesday, July 28, 2015---1:53 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says the bill passed by the state Assembly committing $250 million in taxpayer money toward paying for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena a "good deal all the way around."

Walker made his comments Tuesday while speaking with reporters at Pat's King of Steaks, one of two Philadelphia cheesesteak institutions he was visiting.

Walker says he is ready to sign the bill, which passed on a bipartisan 52-34 vote. There were 35 Republicans and 17 Democrats in support, with 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats against.

Republican Rep. Dean Knudson voted against the measure. He says government shouldn't subsidize professional sports facilities.

No one spoke against the measure during the roughly hour-long debate.

Bucks owner Pete Feigin and coach Jason Kidd watched debate in the Assembly gallery.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, July 28, 2015---11:44 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican and Democratic state Assembly members are joining together to support a $500 million financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

The Assembly plans to vote on approving the bill Tuesday. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca said at a news conference before the vote that it will pass without any changes.

That means the bill will go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. The Senate passed it on a bipartisan 21-10 vote on July 15.

Walker, a presidential candidate, has been supportive of public financing to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Under the proposal, half of the $500 million cost would initially be paid by state and local taxpayers. That cost would increase to $400 million over 20 years with interest.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 6:06 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Assembly is scheduled to vote on approving a $500 million financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

If approved Tuesday without any changes, the plan would then go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. The Senate passed it on a bipartisan 21-10 vote on July 15.

Walker, a presidential candidate, has been supportive of public financing to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.

Under the proposal, half of the $500 million cost would initially be paid by state and local taxpayers. That cost would increase to $400 million over 20 years when interest is added.

The other $250 million would come from current and former Bucks owners.

The deal also includes a $2 ticket surcharge on events at the current Bradley Center.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED Monday, July 27, 2015---3:43 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican leader in the Wisconsin state Assembly says the votes will be there to pass a bill approving a $500 million financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Republican Majority Leader Jim Steineke said Monday that there are at least 30 Republican votes for the plan and he expects about 15 Democrats to support it. He says because about a dozen lawmakers will be absent, the bill will only need about 45 votes to pass.

If approved, the plan would then go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature. The Senate passed it on a bipartisan 21-10 vote on July 15.

Under the proposal, half of the $500 million cost would initially be paid by taxpayers. The other $250 million would come from current and former Bucks owners.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, July 20, 2015---1:34 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Assembly plans to vote next week on a public financing deal to pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said Monday that the Assembly will be in session on July 28 to debate the bill. The Senate passed the measure last week on a bipartisan 21-10 vote.

Under the bill, the public would spend $250 million initially with current and former Bucks owners contributing another $250 million.

The bill includes a $2 ticket surcharge to help pay for the arena.

Supporters say the deal will keep the Bucks in Milwaukee and provide an economic boost to Wisconsin's largest city. But opponents say taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for any of the arena's costs.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 -- 7:07 p.m.

Madison, Wis. (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Senate on Wednesday passed a funding plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena in downtown Milwaukee. The vote was 21-10.

Senators reviewed changes to the arena funding bill earlier in the day.

The most notable change to the $250 million public funding package is Milwaukee County’s contribution — $80 million after interest. It was to come from the state’s collection of unpaid debt, but that has come out of the proposal at the request of Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee).

“I don`t like the optics of saying we`re gonna build an arena on the backs of people who are struggling trying to deal with a foreclosure or court fees so if Abele wants to do that, he can do that on his own,” Senator Larson said.

Abele wasn’t happy to learn the debt collection issue was taken out of the bill. He said doing that would create a $4 million annual gap from money the state would withhold for arena payments.

“Because that`s now been eliminated by Senator Larson, we`ll have a $4 million per year hole in the county budget and I haven`t heard boo about how that`s supposed to get filled,” Abele said.

Abele says that money would not come from the poor. It would come from those who haven’t paid taxes.

“We`re going to protect them at the cost of people who do pay their taxes and the result is a $4 million a year hole in Milwaukee County,” Abele said.

Another controversial aspect of the arena funding proposal is the $93 million in bonding through the Wisconsin Center District. Because those tax dollars are tied up for another 13 years, the total cost of those bonds to taxpayers is more than $200 million.

“I have said all along, from a fiscal standpoint, if we want to make sure this is a success, we have to make sure there`s an adequate funding base for the Wisconsin Center District,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Barrett says a ticket surcharge ($2 per ticket) is now part of the bill. 75% of that money would replace the Wisconsin Center District bonding — with the rest going to the state’s general fund.

Barrett says he wants all of the ticket surcharge fees to reduce the Wisconsin Center District bonding.

The Bucks arena funding plan now heads to the Wisconsin Assembly.

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 15, 2015---1:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin lawmakers are meeting to try to hash out a deal on a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Republicans have crafted a bill that would devote $250 million to the $500 million project through a mix of state and local tax dollars over the next 20 years. The Bucks' owners would contribute $150 million and former owner Herb Kohl would contribute $100 million.

GOP leaders in the 33-member state Senate hope to take up the bill this week but need a number of minority Democrats to join with them to get to 17 votes.

Democratic senators entered closed meetings late Wednesday morning to discuss the arena but no deal has been announced. GOP leaders say the Senate could come to floor almost immediately if the two parties find common ground.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, July 6, 2015---2:13 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin Democrats aren't happy with the lack of public input during hearings to consider a plan for a new, $500 million arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The measure calls for earmarking $250 million in tax dollars to help pay for the project. Current Bucks owners and former owner Herb Kohl have pledged to cover the rest.

The measure was discussed Monday by the Republican-controlled budget committee -- but members only heard from invited speakers. Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Rep. Chris Taylor, both Democrats, complained that the public won't have a chance to sound off on the bill.

Sen. Alberta Darling, the committee's Republican co-chair, noted that Gov. Scott Walker's budget outlined a similar $220 million bonding plan and that public hearings have already held on that overall state budget proposal.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, July 6, 2015---8:21 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A proposed $500 million arena for the Milwaukee Bucks is back up before Wisconsin lawmakers.

The Legislature's budget committee is holding a public hearing at 10 a.m. on a deal that relies on half the money coming from state and local taxpayers. Current owners and former owner Herb Kohl would contribute another $250 million.

Though the GOP controls both chambers and legislative leaders favor the deal, enough rank-and-file lawmakers have resisted the arena that the issue was broken out of larger budget talks.

The NBA has said the Bucks need to have a new arena or the franchise could be moved.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 1, 2015---10:43 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate's Republican leader says he plans to vote on a bill to fund a new Milwaukee Bucks arena next week.

The deal lays out a $500 million financing plan for the arena that includes $250 million from taxpayers. Financing for the new arena was originally part of the state budget. Republicans decided to drop it from the spending plan and take it up as a separate bill after their members raised concerns about the deal.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters Wednesday the Senate plans to take up the bill next week. He didn't say what day.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he, Fitzgerald and Democratic leaders in both houses plan to meet with Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday to talk about generating support among rank-and-file legislators.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, June 19, 2015---8:18 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A public hearing will be held next month on a plan for the city of Milwaukee to spend $47 million as part of the $250 million public financing package for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena.

Mayor Tom Barrett tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the city plan won't be implemented without the Legislature's approval of the state's larger share of that public financing package for the $500 million arena. Bipartisan opposition has stalled that state proposal.

But he said it's important for the city proposal to undergo public review. The first hearing is July 2.

Under the plan, the city would spend $35 million to develop a parking structure downtown and $12 million for public improvements near the arena, including a plaza space.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 17, 2015---2:06 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The co-chair of the Legislature's budget committee says a $500 million financing plan for a new Milwaukee Bucks stadium may be pulled from the state budget and taken up as a separate bill.

Republican Sen. Alberta Darling told The Associated Press on Wednesday that no final decisions have been made, but she suspects that is what will happen. Sen. Luther Olsen, another Republican member of the Joint Finance Committee, agreed.

Backers of the plan have urged its inclusion in the budget, hoping that would speed its passage and make it easier to find approval among those wary of taking a separate vote on the deal.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the financing deal June 4 that relies on $250 million from current and former team owners and $250 million from taxpayers.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, June 8, 2015---12:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Real estate agents, union workers, the Milwaukee Urban League and chambers of commerce are urging the Legislature to quickly approve a financing deal to pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks stadium.

Business and community group leaders came together Monday at the Capitol for a news conference to speak in support of the $500 million proposal announced last week.

Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislative leaders unveiled the deal on Thursday that relies on $250 million from current and former Bucks owners along with $250 million from the public. Legislative leaders have not said whether they have enough votes to approve the plan.

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce lobbyist Steve Baas says pulling the plan from the state budget would make it more difficult to pass.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, June 4, 2015---4:12 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (WITI)--Governor Scott Walker joined state and local leaders, including Speaker Robin Vos, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in announcing a plan to protect state taxpayers from a loss of approximately $419 million, if the NBA relocates the Milwaukee Bucks. The total state contribution will be capped at $80 million.

"We’ve considered the financial impacts on the state should the Bucks stay or go, and quite simply, we found it’s cheaper to keep them,” Governor Walker said. “Our plan is the result of a state and local, public and private alliance, and it is developed with the goal of ensuring a good return to our state taxpayers. Under this plan, for every dollar the state invests, state taxpayers will get a $3 return on that investment.”

In April 2014, new owners bought the Milwaukee Bucks from Herb Kohl in a deal approved by the NBA and contingent upon the construction of a new arena by 2017. If a new arena is not constructed by 2017, the NBA will buy the Bucks back from the current owners and move the team to another state.

If the team is relocated, there will be a loss to state taxpayers of at least $419 million over the next 20 years due to the loss of current revenue, future growth, and the ongoing costs to maintain the Bradley Center.

Current and former team ownership committed to fund $250 million toward funding the $500 million arena project. Under this plan, state and local governments will also fund $250 million, or half of the total project costs, toward building the new arena without tax increases or state bonding. Any cost overruns would be paid by other sources, but not the state.

Working together with local leaders, Governor Walker, Speaker Vos, and Majority Leader Fitzgerald developed a plan that will cap the total state investment in the project at $80 million over 20 years. Over a 20-year period, this plan protects $299 million in income tax revenue, including the base and projected growth.

Local governments will fund the remainder of the investment through infrastructure investment, direct funding, and financing through the Wisconsin Center District.

Copyright 2015: WITI
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UPDATED Thursday, June 4, 2015---1:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two people familiar with a deal for a new $500 million stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks say taxpayers will contribute $250 million and current and former Bucks owners will pay for the other half.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of the deal before a Thursday afternoon news conference with Gov. Scott Walker.

The Republican governor has argued for months that it will cost the state more in lost income-tax revenue if the NBA pulls the Bucks from Milwaukee than it will to pay for a new downtown arena.

State Sen. Alberta Darling says the deal is much better for taxpayers than other arena-financing agreements reached elsewhere across the country.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, June 4, 2015---9:09 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker plans to announce details Thursday afternoon of a long-awaited deal to pay for a new $500 million arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Walker's office announced that he will hold a Thursday afternoon news conference at the state Capitol to announce the Bucks deal.

Walker, team officials, state and local Milwaukee government officials have been negotiating for weeks on a plan to pay for the arena in order to keep the NBA team in the state.

The new arena would be part of a $1 billion development that also includes office space, restaurants and bars.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previously reported the deal will include at least $250 million from taxpayers and $250 from current and past Bucks owners.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Thursday, May 28, 2015 --- 9:18 a.m.

PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says allowing local taxes set to expire in Milwaukee County to continue and be used to help pay for a $500 million new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks is not a tax increase.

Walker commented Thursday following a ground breaking in Portage about the ongoing negotiations to finance a new arena for the NBA team to keep it in Milwaukee.

Walker says he thinks an agreement is close and he's hopeful to have it announced by the end of the week.

Walker says whatever final deal is reached will not raise taxes statewide and whether to increase them in Milwaukee County will be up to local officials. He says no new tax is being discussed, and he doesn't consider extending an existing tax as an increase.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 --- 3:51 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A key Wisconsin lawmaker negotiating a financing plan to pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks says there's no deal yet, but he's still optimistic to reach an agreement by the end of the week.

Rep. John Nygren said Wednesday that there's general agreement on a financing deal for the $500 million arena, but "I don't think we're there yet."

Nygren is co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. He and other lawmakers, along with Milwaukee officials and leaders of the NBA team, have been trying to reach a deal by the end of the week so it can be included in the state budget.

Without a new stadium by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and relocate it.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED Tuesday, May 26, 2015---10:46 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Milwaukee leaders and the president of the Milwaukee Bucks all say they are close to reaching a deal to pay for a new $500 million arena for the NBA team.

They said Tuesday following a closed-door meeting in Gov. Scott Walker's Capitol conference room that they were optimistic a deal can be reached by Friday.

Talks have been ongoing for months to come up with a plan to pay for the arena that's part of a $1 billion entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee. Without a new stadium by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and relocate it.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he remains optimistic, "but there's still work to be done."

Bucks president Peter Feigin says everyone is trying to reach a deal.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, May 1, 2015---10:29 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he thinks a deal to pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks is "close."

Walker commenting on the status of negotiations Friday, the day after he personally joined the talks for the first time.

Walker says, "I think we're close. But obviously we have to work out the last little bit of details."

Walker says his only criteria are ensuring that taxes don't increase and that there is a net benefit to taxpayers in the state.

The Republican governor first proposed a $220 million bonding plan in late January to help fund the proposed $500 million arena. Other ideas would lower the state's contribution to around $150 million, with more money coming from local governments.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, April 30, 2015---2:15 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he hopes to have a financing deal to pay for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena in the "not too distant future."

Walker commented Thursday before his first face-to-face meeting with officials from the NBA team and others who have been working to reach a deal.

Walker says his only criteria are ensuring that taxes don't increase and that there is a net benefit to taxpayers in the state. He says the Legislature has been clear in wanting the city and county to offer more money as well.

The Republican governor first proposed a $220 million bonding plan in late January to help fund the proposed $500 million arena. Other ideas would lower the state's contribution to around $150 million, with more money coming from local governments.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 22, 2015---4:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican legislative leaders and the president of the Milwaukee Bucks say they had a productive meeting to discuss ways to pay for a new stadium for the team, but no deal was reached.

Another meeting was set for Thursday.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says no ideas were brought up in Wednesday's 90-minute meeting that haven't been talked about before to pay for the $500 million stadium. It's part of a larger $1 billion planned entertainment district.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos calls the meeting productive, and he says any financing plan will remain a part of the state budget.

Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin calls the meeting positive and collaborative.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says everyone in the meeting was operating in good faith.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Friday, March 3, 2015 --- 6:25 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says he prefers Gov. Scott Walker's financing plan for a new Bucks stadium over a proposal from a Wisconsin lawmaker that would involve tapping the state public lands board for a loan.

Barrett said at a news conference Thursday he supports the governor's plan that involves selling $220 million in state bonds. But Walker in an interview on WTMJ-AM called his own financing plan dead.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald recently proposed a $150 million loan for the project from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and WITI-TV report Barrett also outlined the city's expected contribution, saying Milwaukee would provide $17 million in infrastructure improvements, a parking ramp and a parcel of land.

Barrett says the city and county combined can contribute $50 million.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015
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UPDATED Monday, March 2, 2015 --- 1:21 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The co-chairman of the Legislature's finance committee says he wants to see the Milwaukee Bucks' new owners put more of their own money toward a new arena for the team.

John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, said Monday that he wants the Bucks to tell legislators exactly how much the project will cost so lawmakers know just how much of the arena the state would fund. He says he believes the Bucks owners should pay a greater share of the costs but did not elaborate.

Bucks' owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry have committed $150 million toward a new arena. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed selling $220 million in state bonds to help pay for the project. Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has committed another $100 million.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Friday, February 27, 2015 --- 6:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The co-chairmen of the state Legislature's Joint Finance Committee are pressing the Milwaukee Bucks owners to be specific about how much a new arena would cost.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Rep. John Nygren met separately with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Madison this week and agreed that in order for the project to move forward legislators and elected officials need to know exactly what the Bucks have in mind.

Gov. Scott Walker has proposed selling $220 million in state bonds to help pay for the arena. Legislators have been pressing Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele ((AY'-blee) to say how much the city and county is willing to contribute.

The Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1854DR2 ) reports both Vos and Nygren agree the sentiment among legislators is that $220 million in state bonds is too high.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015

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Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2015 --- 7:21 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks have selected three architectural firms to design the basketball team's new downtown arena.

Missouri-based Populous will serve as the lead agency on the design team. The company has worldwide experience designing arenas, stadiums, ballparks and convention centers. Populous has designed 15 NBA or NHL arenas, and is currently working on new projects in Quebec City and Las Vegas.

Two local firms, HNTB and Eppstein Uhen, also will help design the Milwaukee arena. The companies employ nearly 300 Wisconsin residents and have worked on thousands of projects throughout the state.

The Bucks are seeking support from state, county and city governments. Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a state budget calling for $220 million in state bonds to help pay for the new arena.

Copyright: Associated Press 2015