Funding for new arena still in question

CREATED Apr 24, 2014

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So far no one is stepping up to pay for the remainder of what a new arena will cost. That has elected officials on all levels talking about what that means for taxpayers.

"If there's any significant public involvement the public is going to have to have a say in it," said Governor Scott Walker.

While many are still buzzing about the excitement over new Bucks ownership, now the question is, who will come up with the rest of the money to pay for a new arena? If there isn't a new arena by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy the team, and possibly move the franchise.

"I will never support a sales tax for a new arena that would focus on Racine County," said Rep. Robin Vos.

"I think there's very little support for doing generally across the board kind of sales tax thing. That would be nearly impossible to sell," said Rep. Peter Barca.

At the Milwaukee County Board, supervisors discussed putting a referendum or a question to voters in November if county residents should pay for part of a new downtown arena.

"I haven't heard the groundswell of support from the average citizen saying geez now that Sen Kohl is putting in $100 million and the new owners are putting in $100 million, we'd be happy to put in the next $200 million," said Supervisor David Cullen.

"We don't need to know whether it's a dollar or $100 million or $300 million, the public should be able to say yes or no," said Supervisor John Weishan.

When asked if an arena could be built without taxpayer support, Supervisor Deanna Alexander said, "I think there's a potential it could happen. It looked pretty bleak a couple weeks ago. There's a lot of buzz now."