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Milwaukee Brewers and the government. Tony Evers’ plan to use $300 MILLION to upgrade the team’s stadium is ‘DEAD’

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Milwaukee Brewers and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to use $300 MILLION of taxpayer money to upgrade the team’s ballpark is ‘DEAD,’ says Wisconsin’s top Republican

Wisconsin’s top Republican said Wednesday that a plan put forward by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the Milwaukee Brewers to spend nearly $300 million of taxpayer money on improvements to the stadium where the team plays was likely dead in the Wisconsin-controlled Legislature. Republican Party.

But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he hoped Republicans could come up with a better deal that would seek a commitment from the team to stay in Milwaukee longer and not rely as heavily on money from a one-time budget surplus.

Under Evers’ plan, in exchange for the state spending $290 million on repairs, the Brewers’ lease would be extended for 13 years, through 2043.

“I’m not sure the amount of time you are asking the team to stay here is correct,” Vos told reporters. “I think the deal he made is not very good for the taxpayer.”

Evers’ spokesperson, Britt Cudaback, expressed optimism that a deal could be reached.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to improve Brewers stadium has been declared ‘dead’

A young fan plays outside American Family Field before a Milwaukee Brewers game

A young fan plays outside American Family Field before a Milwaukee Brewers game

“We’re hopeful that the partisan theatrics of Speaker Vos won’t get in the way of our deal to keep the Brewers in Milwaukee for another two decades,” Cudaback tweeted.

Evers and the team said they want to pay for the repairs by taking advantage of part of the state’s projected $7 billion budget surplus.

Earlier Wednesday, a coalition of Wisconsin business, tourism and health care leaders, former officials and others announced they are working to find a bipartisan solution to keep the Brewers in the state “for the next generation,” the leader of the group, Omar. Shaikh, a restaurant owner and developer in the Milwaukee area.

“The Milwaukee Brewers are a source of pride for Wisconsin and it is important that we do whatever it takes to ensure that Major League Baseball is preserved in our state for the next generation,” Shaikh said in a statement. “Through our collective efforts, the Home Crew Coalition aims to carry that message across the state and ensure that the Brewers can call American Family Field home for years to come.”

Evers has touted his proposal as a way to keep a Wisconsin tradition alive while helping a business that creates a lot of jobs and tax revenue for the state. Without him, Evers suggested, the Brewers might be gone.

However, public funding of privately owned sports teams has been the subject of heated debate across the country, including in Wisconsin, in recent decades. Numerous economic studies have shown that financing public stadiums is a bad deal for many communities.

Wisconsin plays Stanford during an NCAA college basketball game, at American Family Field

Wisconsin plays Stanford during an NCAA college basketball game, at American Family Field

In 1995, the then Gov. Tommy Thompson convinced his fellow Republicans in the Legislature to support a deal that paid for the construction of Miller Park to replace the Milwaukee County Stadium in large part with a 0.1% sales tax in Milwaukee County and four surrounding counties.

That tax was highly controversial, as Republican state senator George Petak was removed from office in 1996 after switching his vote against the plan to favor. The tax ended in 2020.

The Brewers played their first game at the stadium in 2001, and it was renamed American Family Field in 2021. The Brewers’ current lease calls for the Southeastern Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District to cover repairs.

But Evers and the team have said the district doesn’t have enough money to pay for what is needed, and the state surplus provides an opportunity to fund it without implementing a new tax or borrowing money.

Other coalition members announced Wednesday include:

  • Mike Grebe, retired attorney and former chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party
  • Dan Kapanke, former Republican state senator and owner of the La Crosse Loggers baseball team
  • Ashok Rai, President and CEO of Prevea Health
  • Peggy Smith, President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee
  • Andrew Disch, Political Director of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Tracy Johnson, President of the Wisconsin Business Association of REALTORS
  • Jim Villa, executive director of NAIOP Wisconsin, an organization of real estate developers
  • Rob Zerjav, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

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