The latest plan for Milwaukee’s American Family Field would use tax money to keep the stadium up to date, but those taxes wouldn’t come from the people of Wisconsin.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on Wednesday, told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber they are looking at a plan to tax ballplayers to pay for the ballpark.
“Remember, if a player comes one-time to Wisconsin, they file a Wisconsin income tax return. So, every single player who visits pays Wisconsin income taxes.” Vos explained. “If the Brewers leave, every dollar of that income tax would never be here.”
Vos said Republican lawmakers at the Wisconsin Capitol are considering a plan that would find the $400 million that American Family Field needs for maintenance and repairs from those income tax dollars.
“We’re focusing on using a sizable chunk of the income taxes that players pay, nothing that you and I pay, and using that to help keep the team here,” Vos added.
He hopes to release the details after Labor Day.
Vos also said Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to cut the Stadium District a one-time check is dead. But Vos said the idea of having Milwaukee and Milwaukee County pay something for the stadium is not.
“There has to be a local contingency,” Vos said. “In the Fiserv Forum deal it was basically one-third/one-third/one-third. In the Stadium District up in Green Bay it was a local effort, the state had some money in it but very little. Here we are where the state is looking to fund something like 50%, 60%, 70% using the players’ salaries. The balance should be paid for by the people who are going to most directly benefit, and that’s the city and county of Milwaukee.”
MIlwaukee County’s executive and Milwaukee’s mayor have both in the past said they want to keep the Brewers in town and are open to helping pay for American Family Field.
Milwaukee County supervisors and Milwaukee aldermen, however, have vowed to not spend a “dime” on the ballpark.
Vos isn’t saying how he intends to have Milwaukee and Milwaukee County chip-in, though he is ruling out “taxing” some of the city and county’s new sales tax money.
“[The sales tax] freed-up hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of the next 20 or 30 years which we can choose to invest in local economic activity, like the Brewers,” Vos said. “To say ‘You and I realize that if the Brewers leave, that sales tax goes down.’”
Brewers’ owner Mark Anatanassio said last week he thinks talks about a ballpark funding deal are in “the sixth inning,” and said he’s optimistic that a deal is in the works.