State lawmakers are holding a hearing at the Capitol today on a proposal to have taxpayers help fund part of a new downtown Milwaukee arena for the Bucks NBA team. The fact that the meeting is taking place in Madison, not Milwaukee, is not sitting well with at least one Milwaukee lawmaker though.
The hearing was called late last week and will only feature testimony from invited speakers. State Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) says, for a plan that could greatly impact taxpayers in Milwaukee, residents of the city should be getting more of a chance to weigh in on the proposal. “I don’t see anything wrong in coming to the voters,” argues the Milwaukee Democrat.
The plan, which the state Senate could vote on this week, would have taxpayers covering about half the cost of the proposed $500 million facility. Most of the public dollars would come from residents of southeastern Wisconsin.
GOP leaders have indicated they may need some votes from Democrats to pass the plan in the Senate. Currently, Carpenter says he has no intention of voting for the funding proposal. “Right now the plan stinks,” he says. “If they think they’re gonna gain votes by trying to force it down our throats…they have another thing coming.”
A message seeking comment from the co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, which is holding the hearing, was not immediately returned.