The Wisconsin state Senate passed an arena deal for the Milwaukee Bucks – a big step for the team.
Now, the bill must pass the Assembly and get signed by Gov. Scott Walker.
The latter is a near-certainty, but the former could present problems.
The bill will need Republic and Democratic support to pass the Assembly, because not all Republicans – members of the majority party – support it. Some Democrats want it altered.
Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, via WISN 12:
We’re looking at a number of different issues here. We have about six, seven amendments that various members have drafted.
But, by and large, one thing that’s important is making sure that, 30 years from now when the Bucks come around and want a new arena again, that we’re in much better shape for the taxpayers, that we’re not in the same boat now where we have to put millions of dollars just to keep the Bradley Center operating because it needs significant maintenance.
Additionally, we want to make sure that we have the best arrangement for the greater Milwaukee area for workers and for having jobs that are meaningful that I think the Bucks share in.
I’d argue Wisconsin politicians and the public they represent are already in pretty good shape. If the Bucks don’t have plans for a new arena in motion by 2017, the NBA can buy back the team for $575 million. I don’t think Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry want that too happen – which gives local governments plenty of leverage. They could dare Edens and Lasry not to pay more themselves and risk losing the franchise.
Instead, Wisconsin is trying to set up its next next deal with the Bucks. That’s not a terrible idea, but the state would be better off using its leverage now.