Pro-Ballpark Funding Coalition Launched
Home Crew Coalition backing $290 million state subsidy for Milwaukee Brewers stadium.
The Home Crew Coalition was launched Wednesday. Led by restauranteur and coalition chair Omar Shaikh, the organization supports a “solution to keep Major League Baseball in Wisconsin for the next generation.”
Other coalition members include VISIT Milwaukee CEO Peggy Williams-Smith, former Republican Party leader and retired Bradley Foundation CEO Michael Grebe, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters political director Andrew Disch, NAIOP Wisconsin leader Jim Villa, Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin head Tracy Johnson, former Republican legislator and collegiate summer league team owner Dan Kapanke, Prevea Health CEO Ashok Rai and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers CEO Rob Zerjav.
“The Milwaukee Brewers are a point of pride for Wisconsin and it’s important that we do what is needed to ensure Major League Baseball is preserved in our state for the next generation,” said Shaikh in a press release. “Generating thousands of jobs and billions in direct spending, it’s important that we recognize the massive economic impact the team and the ballpark have on our state. Through our collective efforts, the Home Crew Coalition aims to deliver that message statewide and ensure the Brewers can call American Family Field their home for years to come.”
Evers, through his 2023-2025 budget proposal, called for allocating $290 million from the state’s surplus to stadium improvements in exchange for the team extending its lease from 2030 to 2043.
But the nature of Evers’ announcement drew immediate flak from the leaders of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature.
“When the Bucks had a similar situation, Democrats and Republicans worked together to find a solution on the best path forward. Instead, Governor Evers drops this bomb in the budget, never mentioning or attempting to collaborate with the Legislature in any way,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a tweet. “These are typical antics for him not being a leader but rather dictating exactly what to do and how to do it. Governor Evers’ style makes it difficult to generate consensus. I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to insure [sic] that the Brewers stay in WI.”
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu also issued a statement undercutting Evers: “The legislature will write the budget and we will work with our colleagues throughout the state to explore our options and build a budget that makes sense for everyone in Wisconsin,” he said. LeMahieu called Evers’ budget “just an idea.”
The money, as Evers proposed, would be paired with $70 million left over from the stadium sales tax and grow with interest to cover $448 million in stadium work.
The new coalition is not formally affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers and is instead an initiative of Wisconsin Small Businesses United. The 501(c)(4) lobbying group advocates for “improving the Wisconsin economic climate for its residents and its small businesses.” The organization is led by longtime lobbyist and Republican strategist Brandon Scholz.
The organization’s funding sources were not disclosed.
In 2020, the last publicly available year for which the small business group filed a 990 form, it reported $150,000 in revenue. The organization pursued a claim to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2020 in an attempt to limit the governor’s partial budget veto power, but the case was denied by the court.
Wisconsin Small Businesses United also was among dozens of right-leaning organizations in 2019 to receive a settlement after being targeted for scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service.
See our past coverage for details on what the Brewers intend to spend the money on, how the size of the subsidy compares to other stadiums and why Republicans are averse to using a sales tax for the ballpark. The stadium, initially funded by a five-county sales tax, opened in 2001.
The Home Crew Coalition has a limited website that encourages people to pledge their support.
- Governor Signs Brewers Subsidy Agreement At American Family Field - Evan Casey - Dec 5th, 2023
- Gov. Evers Signs Bills to Keep Milwaukee Brewers, Major League Baseball in Wisconsin Through 2050 - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 5th, 2023
- Council, Mayor Bickered On Brewers Deal - Jeramey Jannene - Nov 29th, 2023
- Brewers Stadium Deal Passes the Legislature - Shawn Johnson - Nov 14th, 2023
- County Executive David Crowley’s Statement on Bipartisan Bill to Keep Brewers in Milwaukee - County Executive David Crowley - Nov 14th, 2023
- Gov. Evers to Sign Bipartisan Plan to Keep Milwaukee Brewers, Major League Baseball in Wisconsin Through 2050 - Gov. Tony Evers - Nov 14th, 2023
- A swing, a miss, and an errant bat in the stands - State Sen. Chris Larson - Nov 14th, 2023
- Supervisor Burgelis Responds to State Senate Vote on Brewers Stadium Funding - Sup. Peter Burgelis - Nov 14th, 2023
- Murphy’s Law: Civic Blackmail Works For Brewers Again - Bruce Murphy - Nov 14th, 2023
- Senator Agard Statement: Legislation to Keep the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin Passes State Senate - State Sen. Melissa Agard, Senate Democratic Leader - Nov 14th, 2023
Read more about Miller Park Stadium Tax here