Dear Commons Community,
Governor Scott Walker has just signed legislation providing funding for a new sports arena to house the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. This may cost Wisconsin taxpayers as much as $400 million. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed legislation Wednesday that commits hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to a new arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, a move that could complicate the Republican presidential candidate’s efforts to paint himself as the most ardent small-government conservative in a crowded field.
Walker and state GOP leaders pushed the arena plan for months, especially as the team’s owners threatened to move the Bucks to a new market. The deal requires the team’s current and former owners to cover half of the arena’s $500 million projected cost, while taxpayers will cover the rest — with interest, the public cost could rise to as much as $400 million.
…Walker’s plan drew pointed criticism even from some of his typical political allies.
The Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the Koch brothers, slammed the plan earlier this year, arguing that “government shouldn’t be in the business of financing private sports stadiums.” Other conservative groups and blogs also criticized the deal.”
Bloomberg reported Tuesday.that two members of the Bucks’ ownership group donated $200,000 to the super PAC backing Walker’s presidential campaign,
This deal would not be so controversial except that Walker has been slashing Wisconsin’s budget in a number of critical social areas. For example, Walker’s proposed budget for next fiscal year, which he announced in January, included a 13 percent cut in state funds to the University of Wisconsin system and a $127 million cut in public primary school funding. The Republican presidential candidate called the $300 million in cuts for the university network “manageable,” though his plan was met with bipartisan criticism and layoff predictions.
His signing of the sports arena deal clearly shows Walker as a hypocrite who is deep in the pockets of big moneyed interests.