UPDATE: I’ve updated the original entry to include the actual audio of County Executive Abele’s interview with John Mercure. Having had a chance to listen to the audio in its entirety, I think it’s fair to say County Executive Abele was pretty clear that he’d support a 1% sales tax increase to fund a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks only if there was a hard sunset to that sales tax and the funds collected could be accounted for.
What’s more, Abele articulated that he’d support an arena sales tax akin to the one implemented to build an arena in Oklahoma City, an arena that led to increased economic activity and development in that city.
At any rate, here’s the source audio.
Back in June I wrote about comments made by Bradley Center board chairman Marc Marotta, who stated public dollars would need to be allocated to help build a shiny new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, who currently play in the Bradley Center. Marotta suggested simply extending the .1% sales tax already in place to help pay for Miller Park, a sales tax that is set to expire once the Miller Park debt is retired.
Here’s what I wrote at the time:
While I support keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee, I don’t know that I could support the allocation of what’s likely to be hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to prop up the team’s efforts to build a new arena so the team can maximize its profits. What’s more, there are some who believe the economic impact new stadiums/arenas can have on their communities is overstated.
While a new arena may very well help the Milwaukee Bucks maximize their revenue streams, it seems pretty clear to me that a shiny new arena with the same old losing team won’t draw many fans. Fans pay to go see a winning team play, and if the Bucks can’t improve their on-court product, a half-empty new arena won’t do much good.
As first reported by Chris Liebenthal, County Executive Chris Abele has said he supports the idea of extending the .1% sales tax to finance a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
On Monday, Abele was interviewed by John Mercure, afternoon propagandist at WTMJ-AM. Mercure asked Abele about the proposed 1% sales tax for a new arena.
Abele, an admitted owner of season tickets for the Bucks, gushed over the idea. Throwing all his anti-tax statements out the window, he couldn’t emphasize enough how much he liked this idea. He did not say whether he supported it because it would make his friends even richer or if it was that he wanted to have a new arena to sit in for his season tickets.
While I’m certainly a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks, I’m an even bigger fan of well-maintained parks and a robust public transit system, and it goes without saying that I’d support a sales tax dedicated to parks and transit over a sales tax dedicated to building a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.