Scott Walker praises stadium funding that benefits $150,000 donor



In a move intended to bring the Milwaukee Bucks out of the shadows, Scott Walker signed legislation subsidizing the building of a stadium for them with taxpayer money.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin approved $250 million in public financing for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team on Wednesday, a deal exposing him to charges of corporate welfare as he seeks the Republican nomination as a fiscal conservative.

Mr. Walker praised the deal, passed with bipartisan support in the Legislature, as a sound investment that will return $3 in state taxes for every $1 invested.

I believe this is the same argument President Obama made for his national stimulus plan.

The owners of the National Basketball Association team, who include hedge fund managers in New York and a top fund-raiser for Mr. Walker’s presidential campaign, had threatened to leave the state without public funding for a new stadium.

The issue scrambled the usual political alliances in Wisconsin. Milwaukee-area Democrats lined up with the Republican governor, while some conservatives who normally support Mr. Walker objected to what they called “crony capitalism” — taxpayer support of a sports team owned by billionaire financiers.

A minority owner of the team, Jon Hammes, is a longtime supporter of Mr. Walker’s and now serves as a finance chairman for his presidential bid. A company registered to one of his family members donated $150,000 in May to a “super PAC” supporting Mr. Walker.

Well, if that isn't Chamber of Commerce-ism crony capitalism, what is? How is this any different from big business giving to Senate Republicans to make them do their bidding on amnesty, Iran, and the budget?

The governor argued that the public-private arena deal would prevent the loss of the $6.5 million in state taxes paid each year by Bucks players and personnel.

“We have protected our hard-working taxpayers against the major loss in tax revenue that was inevitable had we failed to reach an agreement,” Mr. Walker said in a statement Wednesday.

So Walker is saying that if the government doesn't subsidize big business, the taxpayer loses out.

You know, this is a totally new side of Scott Walker. He's shown he's a mature political leader, who can reach across the aisle bipartisanly and do what's best for the voters. It's true we have an enormous public debt, but by spending a dollar in government money, we can get three dollars back in return, according to Scott Walker. I think if Scott Walker gets elected President all he has to do is spend enough government money to get a multiplier back as taxes, and before you know it, the budget will be balanced!

(Abridged version originally published in AT).



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