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How Possible Bucks Arena Deal Might Be Safe Bet for State, But Not City or County

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks
Rendering of the proposed Milwaukee Bucks arena.

As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare to host the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs; supporters of a new arena are hoping to employ a full-court press to get a funding deal accomplished. They say a plan would ensure pro basketball has a future in Milwaukee.

Recent polls show support for an arena among Milwaukee area residents, but much weaker support in other parts of the state.

Multi-lateral negotiations opened last week over a financing package that would be included in the state budget. It would include a variety of tax incentives and subsidies for the proposed development adjacent to the Bucks’ current arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

While some leaders say the package provides needed protections for taxpayers, others are questioning how Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will fare.

Urban Milwaukeeeditor and columnist Bruce Murphy has written about the issue, and he offers some insight on the proposed plan and its possible implications.

"If the team leaves or otherwise fails to fulfill its obligations under the lease, it would have to pay the state back the amount to retire the state appropriation that was done for it," Murphy says. "But there’s no protection for the city or county in that way."

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