Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Dorow and Kapenga against the Bucks arena deal


After I asked both candidates in the 33rd Senate special election, Brian Dorow and State Rep Chris Kapenga issued statements today on the current proposal for the new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. Dorow struck first:

“I do not support the current proposal to publicly fund a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks for several reasons.

“One, there are still a lot of details being withheld, but based on what we do know of the financing plan, if indeed the Bucks’ arena would be ‘transformational’ for Milwaukee, then the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County should be picking up more of the tab. Why should Waukesha County and other state taxpayers be the piggy bank for the Bucks’ owners and the City of Milwaukee’s development plans?

“Two, who is on the hook for cost overruns? The fact that we do not know the answer to this question makes me and my fellow Waukesha County taxpayers uneasy, at best.

“Third, this plan does not belong in the budget. It should be a stand-alone bill.

“Based on the present publicly-available information, I cannot and will not support this current plan. Furthermore, if the voters hire me and this plan is still being finalized when I get to the State Senate, I will make sure the public has access to an honest accounting for the long-term, real cost of the project, including interest costs on the debt.”

Kapenga upped the ante and said that he will vote against the state budget if the current Bucks arena proposal is in it. I think that makes Kapenga the first Republican in the legislature to say that.

“I’d like to see the Milwaukee Bucks remain in Milwaukee, but can not support a deal that exposes the taxpayers to millions in risk at both the state and local level. I believe a greater debate on the merits of the funding of a proposed Bucks arena in conjunction with the potential economic impact such a commitment could deliver would be better framed outside of the demands of what is already a very challenging state budget.”

“The budget as it’s currently structure today and assuming it includes the arena proposal, would not earn my support.”

How many other legislators will follow Kapenga’s lead? If the Bucks deal is not in the budget, will it pass as a standalone bill with Democratic support?

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