Wisconsin assembly lawmakers voted 69-27 on Tuesday in support of a $546 million financial plan that’ll help keep the Milwaukee Brewers in Wisconsin until at least 2050.
Last month, a press conference was held at American Family Field where the proposal was initially rolled out, which didn’t include any new taxes for the people of Wisconsin, but the state would give the Brewers $60.8M next fiscal year, then up to $20M annually through 2045-2046. Additionally, the city of Milwaukee would contribute a total of $202M and Milwaukee County would pitch in $135M by the year 2050, when the proposed lease would be up.
Keeping the Brewers in Wisconsin
American Family Field is owned largely by the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, a state agency that leases the ballpark to the Brewers so they have a place to play the game.
Back in February/March, Gov. Tony Evers put out a$104 billion budget proposal where $290 million of that would go towards the stadium, combined with the $70 million that was already set aside by the stadium district to pay for renovations over the next 20 years or so.
The new proposal, released last week, reduced the city and county’s amounts to only paying $67.5 million over 27 years in hopes to attract more support from Democratic lawmakers. Many within Wisconsin’s government, like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called this proposal a “win” for Wisconsin, saying the state would’ve lost millions had the Brewers decided to relocate:
“It’s easy math. If the Brewers leave, the dollars follow,” Vos said. “The dollars that follow means we have less money to invest in all the critical things people think are important.”
This plan also includes a requirement that the Brewers must designate one home game per month through April until September as a ‘discounted ticket day’ for all Wisconsin residents. So, kind of like the Five County Fridays, but it’ll be for everyone in the state of Wisconsin. The Brewers are also required to donate $40,000 annually to youth sports organizations, comped to the previous $20,000.
Other things mentioned were using some of the budget to winterize the ballpark so it can be used for events in the offseason. Rep. Donna Rozar used Taylor Swift’s “Eras tour” as an example of how stadiums are profiting big time in their offseason:
“I don’t know if you all saw the way she moves the needle economically when she goes to a place. If we can draw some of those people by winterizing this facility, that is a tremendous benefit to the City of Milwaukee and the County of Milwaukee,” Rozar said.
The Brewers did some research and found that “American Family Field’s glass outfield doors, seats and concourses should be replaced and that luxury suites and the video scoreboard need upgrades. The stadium’s signature retractable roof, fire suppression systems, parking lots, elevators and escalators need work as well” (ESPN).
Now that the bill has passed the Assembly, it’ll go to the Senate where they will vote on it in November before it reaches the desk of Gov. Evers.
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