Milwaukee's mayor says he wants a regional financing plan for any new basketball arena built for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bradley Center in Milwaukee is only about 25 years old, but talk persists that the Milwaukee Bucks need a new arena, one with more ways to get revenue from people attending games or other events. Multi-millionaire Bucks owner and former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl has said he would help pay for a new arena, but wants to see what public financing options are put together.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the Bucks are an asset to the whole state. "However, I cannot support a Milwaukee or Milwaukee County-only financing plan. We need a regional plan, just like for Miller Park and State Fair Park."
The battle over Miller Park was contentious, and Racine County voters recalled State Senator George Petak over his vote for a stadium -related sales tax hike. Barrett says he is not endorsing any particular tax increase, but does want state lawmakers to start talking. "I think we have to have a conversation....but it has to be about more than just a new sports and entertainment facility."
Barrett also wants legislators to look at whether property taxes should continue to be the main funder of other city services, like police and fire departments and infrastructure repairs. A Milwaukee business leader says he will assemble a group soon to discuss who should pay for a new arena.