Senate chambers

Senate chambers

Milwaukee Senate Democrats are being asked to the table on a new Bucks arena.

“We haven’t been in on the discussion, we haven’t been filled in on the details. We don’t know where their votes are at, and there hasn’t been a count on the Democratic side, either,” said Senator Chris Larson. “So if they want to work with Democrats, fantastic. Let’s start that conversation.”

Larson and Senators Lena Taylor and Nikiya Harris Dodd requested the meeting with majority leader, Senator Scott Fitzgerald, in a letter last week.

“We’re getting the suspicion that this deal may already be dead, and they’re just looking for someone to blame,” Larson said, adding that he hopes the Senate GOP will negotiate in good faith.

Milwaukee Democrat, Senator Tim Carpenter, won’t be at the meeting with Fitzgerald and his colleagues.

“I don’t think they’re interested in hearing my ideas,” Carpenter said. He wants a ticket surcharge and no sales tax exemption for luxury suites, and believes Governor Scott Walker would veto both of those provisions from any funding package for a new NBA arena.

“There’s an existing ticket surcharge for the Bradley Center, so it’s not a new tax,” Carpenter said. “This would simply expand it so that people who sit in really expensive seats would pay more than someone who’d sit in the nosebleed seats.”

Democrats like Larson and Carpenter – as well as numerous GOP lawmakers – are insistent that any deal needs to be considered separately from the state budget. For now, it’s included as part of the two year spending plan.

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