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Walker Officially Signs Arena Bill

The scene as Walker signs the arena bill.

Senate Bill 209, the Milwaukee sports and entertainment arena bill, has now passed in the State Senate and in the State Assembly. Today, Governor Scott Walker signed the bill at the Wisconsin State Fair. State legislators, Bucks executives, and others were present for the pen marathon.

Walker continued to voice his support for the bill Wednesday morning, as he signed the bill as is without any vetoes. His main argument continued to be on the income tax revenue the state will receive from keeping the team, as it requires about $4 million state funding per year that will turn into a $2.5 million investment for the state just from NBA income tax revenue. He believes that it’s “cheaper to keep the team,” and the state will receive $3 for every $1 spent. Additionally, Walker explained that he appreciated the bipartisanship that went into the deal, thanking Democratic leaders Peter Barca and Jennifer Schilling in particular for their support for the bill.

Bucks’ President Peter Feigin, who was in attendance, also added this on behalf of the Milwaukee Bucks organization:

“Today’s signing is the culmination of an extraordinary effort from a broad coalition to not only keep the Bucks in Wisconsin, but revitalize Milwaukee. The entire Bucks family is thankful for the leadership and bipartisan support of Governor Walker, state legislators, local officials, countless organizations and the community. We will continue to work with the city and county to move this public-private partnership forward as swiftly as possible and make this world-class sports and entertainment district a reality.”

Now, the last stop will be the Milwaukee City Common Council, which will meet in a series of meeting starting August 31. Many are speculating that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Common Council President Alderman Michael Murphy will try to push for a small change to the ticket surcharge. Both Milwaukee leaders want the surcharge money to go 100% to the Wisconsin Center District (WCD) instead of 75% to the WCD and 25% to the state.

Milwaukee County is still determining how it will pay for the $4 million per year that was stripped from the original arena bill. The Bucks hope to start building the arena by November of this year to have it finished by November of 2017.

Images for featured image from MBJ and Milwaukee Bucks.

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