June 12, 2015

IT'S THE BUCKS, NOT THE PACKERS:

The Koch Brothers Usually Have Scott Walker's Back. Not This Time. : Americans for Prosperity has joined the opposition to a $250 million stadium deal the governor is pushing. (Russ Choma, Jun. 12, 2015, Mother Jones)

When Walker announced a plan last week to spend $250 million in taxpayer money for a proposed $500 million basketball arena in downtown Milwaukee, the local chapter of the Koch-founded advocacy group Americans for Prosperity joined the chorus of detractors who condemned the project. The National Basketball Association is demanding the new venue and is threatening that the Milwaukee Bucks franchise may have to move if the arena isn't built by 2017. This has put Walker in a tough spot. The failure to retain the team would be an ugly black eye for Walker, but the plan to spend taxpayer funds propping up a highly lucrative private business is irritating Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats alike.

While Walker's forays into union-busting had strong conservative backing, the political dynamics involved in the public financing of sports arenas and stadiums are much different. Across the nation in recent years, conservatives and progressive groups and activists have questioned the notion that financing arenas for lucrative sports franchises with taxpayer funds will spur the local economy. And Walker is feeling the backlash.

Wisconsin Democrats predictably oppose Walker's plan, but few of his fellow Republicans are rushing to join him in standing with the NBA. At the moment, 12 of 19 GOP state senators are against the idea. In the state's lower chamber, Walker's not faring much better. State representative David Murphy (R), who recently called Walker's plan to slash $300 million from the state university system "a bold vision for the future," declared, "I'm not a believer in government supporting sports arenas for millionaire players and billionaire owners."

Let them leave.  No one will miss them.

Posted by at June 12, 2015 7:42 AM
  

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