Brewers Want $100 Million Tax Subsidy?
So claims Journal Sentinel. But where exactly did this figure come from?
For my money, Tom Daykin is one of the best reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Years ago, business reporters at the paper came up with the term, “the Full Daykin,” to describe someone who turned in three stories in one day. Rarely — if ever — did any reporter but Daykin do so.
So it’s good news the JS has Daykin covering the question of an additional tax subsidy for the Milwaukee Brewers stadium, as I’ve previously written. But his latest story was, er, a bit lacking in evidence. Call it the incomplete Daykin.
And where did this figure come from? Journalist Neil deMause, whose fieldofschemes.com website reports critically on publicly financed stadiums and arenas, told Daykin a request of “$100 million or so is extremely likely.”
And what was that based on? I asked deMause in an email. “That’s the only number I’ve seen reported,” he replied. But no one had reported that figure, until Daykin did.
I’m a big fan of deMause as well. He is a longtime reporter who created his website as a companion to the book he co-wrote, Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit. But he has no pipeline to the Milwaukee Brewers or any inside knowledge of what they want or what the money might be spent on. His strength is analysis: tracking all sports subsidies in the nation and putting them into context.
The $87 million reserve fund was created based on an analysis the district commissioned by the M.A. Mortenson company, whose March 2019 report included a remarkably detailed cost out of every possible repair and upgrade that might be needed by 2040, as Urban Milwaukee reported.
And the Brewers had repeated chances at meetings of the district to contest the numbers and did not do so, as district board member Mark Thomsen told Urban Milwaukee. But Schlesinger has since gone on to claim the Mortenson report was incomplete.
The report, due this summer, will be released at a time when both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County face huge structural deficits that are predicted to require massive cuts in staff or services by 2023. The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, led by its president Tim Sheehy, is pushing for a local sales tax hike to benefit both the city and county, as Urban Milwaukee reported. But Sheehy has also warned that the Greater Milwaukee area must continue to subsidize the Brewers, even after taxpayers were charged $605 million over the last two decades for the team’s stadium. Precisely how this can be afforded by the financially-strapped city and county is far from clear.
The Brewers report will also come out amid a hotly contested race for governor, and could become an issue in that campaign. Back in 1996, Republican state senator George Petak, who represented the Racine area, was recalled from office for supporting the five-county sales tax for the Brewers stadium. Any proposal for yet another Brewers’ subsidy is likely to be just as controversial.
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More about the Miller Park Stadium Tax
- Pro-Ballpark Funding Coalition Launched - Jeramey Jannene - Mar 8th, 2023
- Eyes on Milwaukee: What’s Actually In Brewers’ Ballpark Plan? - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 28th, 2023
- Murphy’s Law: Brewers Subsidy Largest Ever Per Year? - Bruce Murphy - Feb 22nd, 2023
- The State of Politics: Evers’ Brewers Aid Plan Spooks Republicans - Steven Walters - Feb 20th, 2023
- County Executive David Crowley Praises Gov. Evers’ Plan to Keep Baseball in Milwaukee County - County Executive David Crowley - Feb 14th, 2023
- Gov. Evers Proposes $290 Million For American Family Field Upgrades - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 14th, 2023
- Brewers Applaud Efforts to Maintain American Family Field - Milwaukee Brewers - Feb 14th, 2023
- Gov. Evers Announces Plan to Keep Major League Baseball, Brewers in Milwaukee for 20 More Years - Gov. Tony Evers - Feb 14th, 2023
- Murphy’s Law: Brewers Could Lose Money on TIF Deal - Bruce Murphy - Jun 15th, 2022
- Murphy’s Law: About That Brewers ‘Entertainment District’ - Bruce Murphy - Jun 8th, 2022
Read more about Miller Park Stadium Tax here
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One thought on “Back in the News: Brewers Want $100 Million Tax Subsidy?”
Thank you for following this story, Bruce. I will not support subsidizing the Brewers while our public parks are in such dire need.
As a side note the acres and acres of concrete with freeway access that sit empty 260 days a year and otherwise could be tax generating homes and business make me sad.