Arena Update

Here is an Arena project update for Milwaukee, Seattle and Los Vegas basketball fans. On Wed, there will be a vote in at least one house of the WI Legislature. Is it clear that an arena funding bill will pass? Well, like the foggy picture of the old Mecca Arena floor above, there will be twists and turns. State Rep Dale Kooyenga[Brookfield]R appeared on UpFront with Mike Gousha Sunday morning

on Ch 12 in Milw.

Mike Gousha: The Assembly, are there enough votes to pass the new arena?

Rep Dale Kooyenga: "There are not enough Republican[R] votes. The arena deal as now framed really protects the State taxpayers and we have to look at the County[taxpayers] and figure out how to help. But I am getting more and more comfortable with the package. This is the opportunity for the first time in 4 yrs for the local Democrats[D] in the area to become part of the solution and part of the process and they are not stepping up for this right now. We heard a lot of criticism on the committee from D Sen Taylor. D Sen Tim Carpenter is using this, in my opinion, as a platform to grandstand for his run for [MIlw] Alderman. We cannot get everyone in the R party across this state to vote to support the arena. We need people in their backyard to stand up to say I am a D and I will work with the R to keep the Bucks in Milw.

Mike Gousha: R leadership has persuaded you but why haven’t they been able to persuade other Rs that Arena deal is good financial sense for the State? What is not connecting with the out state Rs?

DK: You have 80% of Rs in both chambers who support this but it is not enough to pass it. It is tough politics, even if it is framed in a way that the players are paying $6.5mill to Madison in income taxes[annual]… it is hard[issue] to explain to upstate R constituencies that have other objectives...…more money for educ…..for tax cuts….and they get hit with a tax [subsidy ] for a project that local l D don’t support .

Gousha: D law makers say that those local D Legislators were not part of the negotiation process…now the Rs need D help and they are part of the process…and now you are saying that ‘You have to vote for this.’ How would you feel?

DK: First of all no one is saying that ‘You have to vote for this.’ I was involved in the local negotiations and last time I checked that Mayor Barrett and Christ Abele were D

Gousha: But now Milw Legislators were part of the process

DK: …and those D legislators are now part of the process….we have reached out... R Sen Fitzgerald has reached out to Sen Minority leader D Sen Schilling and I know R Rep Vos has reached out to Assembly Minority leader D Rep Barca…..

We will see on Wednesday. In the mid '90s, it took several votes and an all night session before the Miller Park funding bill was approved.


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