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HomeBreaking NewsRepublican Budget Chiefs: Brewers’ Stadium Deal Must Make Sense For Taxpayers

Republican Budget Chiefs: Brewers’ Stadium Deal Must Make Sense For Taxpayers

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It’s another sign the Brewers may get taxpayer dollars to help with the costs of their stadium.

The Republicans in charge of writing the next state budget, Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, earlier this week said they are open to finding a way to help the Brewers pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance at American Family Field.

“Generally speaking, a lot of us in the legislature, I think a lot of people in Wisconsin … would like to see the Brewers stay here. So that’s a place to start,” Born said. “But we gotta make sure the plan makes sense for taxpayers.”

While the debate is about the Brewers, the Stadium District is the group that will actually pay for the work. The Stadium District was created back in 1991 when the Brewers replaced County Stadium with what was then Miller Park. The Stadium District is essentially the state-controlled landlord over American Family Field. It is responsible for major upkeep projects at the ballpark.

Gov. Tony Evers last month asked lawmakers to include $290 million in the new state budget to pay for the work at the ballpark. In exchange, the Brewers would agree to stay in Milwaukee for 20 more years.

Born didn’t have a price tag for what the legislature may offer the Brewers but said there has to be buy-in on whatever offer may come.

“There’s a ton of work that’s going to have to be done on this, on all sides,” Born added. “It’s going to have to be bipartisan. Whether or not the governor will come and join us, and lead on this, or the legislature will have to do it ourselves I guess remains to be seen.”

Marklein, whose district is further out-state, said there are still a lot of people to convince about a Brewers’ ballpark deal.

“There’s very mixed feedback. My district is a long way away from Milwaukee, and the bulk of the feedback I’m hearing is negative,” Marklein explained. “Most of that is in the context of millionaire players and a billionaire owner. And it’s hard to convince a farmer in Fennimore that this is going to be a great investment.”

Marklein said there is a lot of data that lawmakers need to get and study before they make a decision.

There are two estimates for what the work that’s needed at American Family Field will cost. One, commissioned by Gov. Evers, puts the price tag closer to $600 million. The other, commissioned by the team, puts that price tag closer to $400 million.

The stadium district, which oversees American Family Field, currently has $87 million set aside for the work. The rest, the team hopes, will come from the state.

Ben Yount - The Center Square
The Center Square contributor
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