Bucks: Assembly passes arena funding measure, Gov. Scott Walker says he’ll sign it


The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill Tuesday that would provide $250 million for the construction of a new downtown arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, clearing another legislative hurdle.

In a bipartisan vote, the measure passed 52-34. The state Senate approved the measure by a 21-10 vote on July 15 and the bill now goes to Gov. Scott Walker for signature, which is expected.

ALSO ON DAIRYLAND EXPRESS: 40 Years Since Kareem Trade Changed Franchise

It was Walker who championed the measure.

“It’s critical not only for those who love sports, but the main reason I got into it was because it protected state revenues,” Walker said during a presidential campaign stop in South Philadelphia, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “That just creates a big hole for everything else. … This was really about protecting the taxpayers of the state.”

The next step for the measure is to work out the sale of land with Milwaukee County and to get approval for the arena from the Milwaukee Common Council.

The team is hoping to get the final steps in place to begin construction on the facility this fall.

More from Milwaukee Bucks

“I’m not overly confident, but I’m confident,” Bucks president Peter Feigin said of getting the land sale and city approval.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said while opening final debate on the bill that passing it was less expensive than the alternative.

“It is cheaper for us to pass this bill than defeat it and let the team leave,” Vos said.

Milwaukee Democrats David Bowen and Jonathan Brostoff, Delafield Republican Chris Kapenga and Big Bend Republican David Craig voted against the bill, while two other members of the Assembly from the greater Milwaukee area—Milwaukee Democrat Daniel Riemer and Pewaukee Republican Adam Neylon—missed the vote while on a cultural exchange in Turkey.

Reimer and Neylon both said they would have voted against the measure.

Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett said a hearing on the city’s financing plan is expected to be held late next month.

“We’ll be prepared to vote on it in early September,” Barrett said.

Barrett also said that with council approval, site construction could begin in October.

Milwaukee County Chris Abele said the county plans to sell 10 acres in Park East for $1 to a group led by the Bucks’ main owners, Head of the Herd LLC.

The lots north of West Juneau Avenue and west of North Old World 3rd Street are valued at $8.8 million, but the sale price doesn’t include the estimated $3.5 million to remove underground former freeway piers and $6 million for moving a sewer line.

While supporters of the measure say it will pay for itself by ensuring NBA players continue to pay income taxes in the state, opponents say the only beneficiaries will be the team’s owners and comes at a time when the state is curring spending on infrastructure and the University of Wisconsin system.

Live Feed

Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game on Tuesday, Dec. 5
Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game on Tuesday, Dec. 5 /


  • Knicks vs. Bucks prediction and odds for NBA In-Season Tournament QuarterfinalsDaily Knicks
  • Milwaukee Bucks should monitor former fan-favorite stuck on LA Clippers' benchBehind the Buck Pass
  • Coach Griffin provides injury updates on several key Milwaukee BucksBehind the Buck Pass
  • Peter’s Points: NBA Best Bets Today (Expert Predictions, Picks for CJ McCollum, Malik Monk and More)Betsided
  • Best NBA Odds for Every In-Season Tournament Quarterfinal Game TodayBetsided
  • Half of the $500 million price tag for the new arena will be paid by the current owners and former owner Herb Kohl, with the other half coming from the funding package that Walker will sign.

    The city of Milwaukee will contribute $47 million in the form of a parking structure and tax incremental financing.

    The remaining $203 million will come from bonds issue by an arena and entertainment district and paid off by state taxpayers, lower state aid to Milwaukee County and an increase of a ticket surcharge and the extension of existing taxes on local hotel rooms, rental cars and food and beverages that is being collected by the Wisconsin Center District.

    The NBA, as part of the agreement when Kohl sold the team last year to Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dimon, was that it reserved the right to buy back the team if a new arena wasn’t under construction by the end of 2015.

    In that scenario, the Bucks would likely be sold to interests in another city and relocated.

    Next: Carter-Williams Invited To Team USA Minicamp

    More from Dairyland Express