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Taxpayers have mixed feelings on public funding for new arena

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Taxpayers have mixed feelings on public funding for new arena

By Michele Fiore. CREATED Jul 31, 2014

MILWAUKEE - With new owners, the state's NBA team needs a new stadium. The big question is how to pay for it?  The Milwaukee County Board made a big decision on that at Thursday's meeting. 

On the agenda, you see that the referendum question would have asked whether tax revenue should be used to help pay for the renovation or construction of a new sports and entertainment area. 

Well some supervisors didn't like the wording of that and sent it back to the lawyers, but that essentially kills it because they're going into recess.  So, we put the question to voters ourselves.
 
"I think it would be important to build the new arena. I'd like to see them get it done and if that means raising tax revenue it's something I'd be ok with them considering," said Chris Foregger, Milwaukee County taxpayer.
 
Milwaukee county taxpayers have mixed opinions, but they do agree on this, they would have appreciated expressing their opinions through a referendum. 
 
"I'm all for the Bucks staying here so whatever it's going to take, I think we're all going to have to bite the bullet and do it," said Jerry Golembiewski, Milwaukee county taxpayer.
 
County board supervisor John Weishan is leaving the meeting disappointed.
 
Well unfortunately we have people who wanna kind of stand behind the bureaucracy rather than tell the public what their true intentions are," said Weishan.
 
Board supervisors who sent the matter back to corporation counsel did so because they thought it was a badly worded referendum.
 
"We could have 101 referendum questions if we were just gonna ask general questions but what meaning do you draw from them?" asked County board supervisor Theodore Lipscomb
 
This was a non-binding referendum, so whatever voters decided, lawmakers in Madison would still have the right to do what they wish with the sales tax, as was the case with Miller Park back in the 90s.
 
The new Bucks arena is expected to cost about $400 million and it remains unclear where a big chunk of that will come from.