With work on the state budget completed, the Milwaukee Bucks arena is the next challenge for Republican leaders in the Wisconsin legislature. Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) said the NBA team has made some moves, and now it’s time for lawmakers to do the same.
“With Monroe and Middleton, (re-signed Khis Middleton and newly signed Greg Monroe) the new people added to the team, I think they’re going to be very competitive, and I think people will develop pride that we’ve kept them in Wisconsin,” Darling said.
The team’s future here hinges on leadership’s ability to round-up enough votes, to support a deal to build a new arena in downtown Milwaukee. “We don’t have them right now, but we will have them, I would hope, and if we don’t it would be a real shame,” Darling said.
The state’s share of the $500 million dollar project will be $55 million. If the arena is not built, the NBA will allow the team to move, with Seattle or Las Vegas as likely destinations. The Bucks’ current lease on the aging Bradley Center expires after the 2016-17 season.
“I hope that people will take a look at what’s in this bill,” Darling said. “The owners are putting in a significant amount of money, half of the cost, and what we’re going to see is a very reasonable partnership between the state, the city and county, and I think it does not put the burden on the backs of the taxpayer.”
The state Senate is expected to take up the Bucks arena legislation on Wednesday.