by Benjamin Yount
Voters in Milwaukee County don’t want to pay for American Family Field.
A new poll released over the weekend shows 65% of voters asked don’t want to use taxpayer dollars to pay for renovations and upkeep at the Brewers’ ballpark.
That number changed, however, when voters were asked about using state dollars, with 59% of voters saying they’re okay with using state tax dollars to pay for the Brewers’ ballpark.
Dan Adams, the director of Milwaukee Works which commissioned the poll, said there’s a clear message from voters.
“The voters are saying we don’t want any subsidy, but if we are going to do a subsidy, it should come from the state coffers, not from Milwaukee County only,” Adams said on UPFRONT where the poll was first released.
According to the poll, 25% of Milwaukee County voters support using local tax dollars to pay for the stadium upgrades, particularly if it means the Brewers will stay in Milwaukee.
The publicly operated Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District technically owns the stadium, and it is the district that is looking for at least $400 million in public money to pay for on-going work at American Family Field.
The latest plan to find that money is from legislative Republicans who want to use tax money paid by professional baseball players to pay for the work.
Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, said that plan should be presented to lawmakers in the next “week or so.”
“The speaker will come out with what we believe is a good plan for us, and the negotiations will continue once we have a bill to negotiate on, but there’s been members of both parties and a lot of meetings from both houses talking about this,” August said on UPFRONT.
The Brewers continue to say they are hopeful that a deal can be worked out. The Brewers’ owner last month said negotiations were “in the sixth inning.”
Part of the trick will be to get reluctant lawmakers, Milwaukee County leaders, and Gov. Tony Evers onboard according to August.
“We haven’t spoken to the governor yet,” August said. “We’re trying to make sure we’ve gotten some buy-in from both political parties and again our local partners here in the city and county.”
A number of Milwaukee aldermen and Milwaukee County supervisors have vowed not to spend any of their local money on the ballpark.
Without a deal for American Family Field, there is a chance that the Brewers could eventually leave Milwaukee.
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