Second source says 9-10 State Senators are pushing for a #Bucks arena funding plan to be taken out of the budget.— David Ade (@DavidAdeCBS58) June 1, 2015
Ade then went into further detail on CBS 58's website tonight, noting that the entire budget could get tanked if the Bucks bill is part of it.
Monday two different sources told CBS 58's David Ade; at least two Republican senators are prepared to become part of the roadblock to a Bucks arena funding plan. Sources say many legislators are upset a Bucks arena plan is included in the state budget, and want it to be removed so it can be taken up as a bill of its own.It's not like there's a lot of up-front money that's required from the state to have the Bucks arena get started, as the state would reportedly only pay $4 million a year from the designated "jock tax," so that's $8 million over 2 years in a budget of $33 billion in General Fund money. Something could logically be adjusted at a later point in the 2015-16 or 2016-17 fiscal year to make up that difference, and since the City of Milwaukee would not likely vote on its part of the financing package until later this year (maybe as part of its budget in November), there's no immediate urgency to have a Bucks bill become law by the end of this month.
One of those sources gave details saying at least two, but as many as five Republican senators are prepared to vote against the entire state budget if a Bucks arena plan is included. Currently, Republicans control the State Senate 19-14. All 14 Democrats are expected to vote against the budget. If three or more Republicans join them, then the budget would not pass the Senate.
Sources say legislators outside of Milwaukee simply don't care if the Bucks get a new arena, and are facing pressure from constituents to oppose it.
The flip side is that turning the Bucks arena bill into a standalone item means that it becomes a lot easier to shoot down. It may be difficult for some GOP members of the Legislature to hold up an entire budget filled with
Of course, having the Bucks bill as a standalone also allows more time for it to be analyzed, and likely to be exposed in ways that the Bucks arena proponents don't want it to. Bruce Murphy had a good follow-up today in Urban Milwaukee going over the recent events, discussing Dan Bice's recent rundown of the bill, and how the changes in the Bucks arena bill shifts a lot of the burden onto taxpayers in the City and County of Milwaukee.
The original plan called for the state to issue $220 [million] in bonds, which was expected to cost $380 million with interest costs included, while the city and county would contribute $30 million, or about 7 percent of the total. Bice’s new total show local taxpayers now paying $327 million of an estimated total cost of $407 million, or 80 percent. I’d say that massive shift in who is paying is quite newsworthy.Murphy adds that there isn't any clarity over whether the Bucks arena and the nearby projected development is supposed to stay property tax-free, as it was in Walker's original bill. Murphy also rehashes other items from his excellent rundown in April which discussed the numerous tax write-offs and other hidden subsidies that Murphy estimates to reach over $1 billion while the arena is in existence. However, that number may be reduced some if the rumor of a $12 million TIF from the City of Milwaukee is correct, as that implies some of the "sports and entertainment district" will NOT be tax-free (can't do a TIF if the property isn't taxable). The new Bucks arena bill will have to at least define which areas of the development would or would not be taxable, and that may drive some serious debate from the Milwaukee Common Council and Mayor Barrett's office as they decide whether they want to formally sign off on their side of the agreement.
Needless to say, a lot more needs to be ironed out on this Bucks bill. This is true both behind the scenes at the Capitol, and once an amended bill is finally printed and available to be voted on. It looks like things are a lot less certain than the Bucks and their cheerleaders at JournalComm were letting onto last week when it comes to figuring out how to pay for a future arena in Milwaukee.