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Local taxpayers react to funding plan for new Bucks arena

A local expert said there are many more details that still need to be ironed out before the arena funding plan is a slam dunk.

But, he calls it a step in the right direction to ease taxpayers fears and keep the bucks here. It's a point not lost on fans like Morris Allen.

\"I'm looking forward to my first game in a new arena,\" he said.

Under a plan by state and local leaders, the public would pay for half of the new arena. Allen said the investment is great for everybody.

\"Business wise, entertainment wise, we need a professional franchise in Milwaukee,\" he said. \"Herb Kohl, that's his vision. We don't want to change his vision.\"

\"It would seem incomplete for Wisconsin if we didn't have Major League Baseball, NFL and NBA,\" said Milwaukee resident Joe Gilsdorf.

No new taxes will be imposed to bring the project's renderings to life. But Gilsdorf, who is also a small business owner, worries extending the Wisconsin Center District's hotel, food and drink taxes could hurt future opportunities.

\"If there's any sort of dissuading tax that would slow people down from bringing their convention here, we would be concerned about that,\" he said.

State and local leaders said this plan is not just about the Bucks, but what's best for taxpayers.

Governor Scott Walker contends letting the team leave the state could cost more than $400 million over 20 years.

\"I think that's more of scare tactic if you will,\" said Professor David Snieg of Concordia University.

Professor Snieg teaches sport and entertainment business. He said a successful arena plan rests on two unknowns, a winning team and meeting economic growth projections.

\"As long as it's going back into state investment and development in the state,\" he said about using the money from that growth. \"If it's going back into people's pockets, people are going to be a little bit upset about it.\"

The Bucks sent us this statement expressing their gratitude adding, \"this is a big step forward in our collective effort to build a transformative economic and cultural asset in downtown Milwaukee. We will continue to work closely with our public partners to make sure this historic effort is successful.\"

State leaders encouraged residents to get informed and let their lawmakers know how they feel about this plan. But in the end, Speaker Robin Voss said looking at the facts, the answer is obvious on what needs to be done.

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