NEW: Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu confirms his GOP caucus doesn't have 17 votes right now to pass the Brewers stadium bill, even with a ticket tax on non-Brewers events expected to be added.— Emilee Fannon (@Emilee_Fannon) October 25, 2023
We got an answer about how many Dems are in support of the bill after this comment from my State Senator this weekend.
LeMahieu added his caucus is looking for a bigger contribution from the Brewers ($100M) and less from the state.— Emilee Fannon (@Emilee_Fannon) October 25, 2023
It’s unclear how many Dems support the bill that would spend $546M in public funds to upgrade AmFam Field. https://t.co/bs4Mz6X0nX pic.twitter.com/LyzmuY4L4a
Given that less than 1/3 of the Democrats in the Assembly voted against the Brewers bill, it surprises me that it would be 0 for 11 in the Senate. But perhaps this is simple negotiations, and the Dems recognize that if they are needed to get this bill through, then they'd better get more of what they want out of that bill. As alluded to by Channel 58's Fannon, one item that seems certain to be added to the final Brewers deal is ticket tax on concerts and other one-off events at the ballpark. Bill sponsor Rep. Rob Brooks said such a ticket tax could be used to cut the amount of general taxes that would be used toward the ballpark.
Dem State Sen. Kelda Roys says there are currently no Dems who would vote yes for the Brewers funding bill: "I know there are many of us who want to get to a yes."— Matt Smith (@mattsmith_news) October 27, 2023
Senate GOP has said the deal will need Dem support to pass
Much more Sun on UPFRONT...@WISN12News @wispolitics pic.twitter.com/Amm8XUms9u
Brooks said he thought that a lower state contribution could be achieved by implementing a ticket tax on non-Brewer events. Brooks said that a ticket tax on Brewers events are a “nonstarter” for the team, but that a ticket tax on other events at the stadium is a possibility. He said the team wants to keep ticket costs low for Brewers fans. “Do I think we’re going to get a ticket tax for Brewers games?” Brooks said. “No. Because the Brewers have said we would rather pony up with some additional money and they have, to the tune of $100 million.”However, it does look like others want to see the Brewers games be the direct contributor, much like how Bucks games have a ticket tax to help pay for FiServ Forum.
I'm with Sen Roys in that I would prefer the ticket tax to be levied on each of the Brewers' 2 million+ admissions a year, as a way to make sure users from out-of-town pay towards the stadium upkeep. But I understand where the Brewers are coming from on that (they don't want to be seen as raising ticket prices), and that they'd rather pay the money out of their own pockets. As long as it takes some of the burden off of Milwaukee and statewide taxpayers, I'm relatively indifferent as to how that gets done. Another complaint brought up by Democrats during the stadium bill debate is the fact that there are no representatives of either the City of Milwaukee or Milwaukee County on the Stadium Board, even though those local governments are slated to send a total of $135 million. Brewers president of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger was asked about that at the hearing, and said he was sensitive to that complaint (he made a historical reference to "no taxation without representation"), and it does look like this will at least be a topic of discussion.
State Sen. Kelda Roys says Dem votes aren't there on Brewers bill and wants more from Brewers— Matt Smith (@mattsmith_news) October 29, 2023
On potential ticket tax: "The vast majority of events that happen at AmFam field are Brewers games, so if they're willing to make up more of the contribution, I think that's reasonable" pic.twitter.com/lTRXlJuoA9
Brooks said that the board composition has gone through several iterations, and they are prepared to amend the bill. “If it’s adding a city and county representative or something, I think we can certainly look at that,” Brooks said. “It was anticipated all along that that’s what it would look like, but I wasn’t about to put it in the bill until I had a commitment on the money.”“If it’s adding a city and county representative or something, I think we can certainly look at that,” Brooks said. “It was anticipated all along that that’s what it would look like, but I wasn’t about to put it in the bill until I had a commitment on the money.”I get that, although I don't get why it wouldn't be the other way around, where the locals get to help decide what to do about the money, and then they agree to chip in funds toward the upkeep. I don't see an Executive Session scheduled in the Senate committee discussing the Brewers bill, which is the place where the bill could be amended and then voted on. That could change quickly, depending on how things work out behind the scenes, but I also think there are enough moving parts that it could take a while to figure all of this out. And I do think events involving the on-field product will have an effect, particularly with this story that came out last week.