UPDATE #1: Gov. Scott Walker told reporters Thursday morning that he's "hopeful" an arena financing announcement can be made at 3 pm today, though he also opened the door for delaying the announcement to Friday. Mary Spicuzza of the Journal-Sentinel also reports that Walker is open to the arena deal being voted on separately if necessary. To date, Republican leaders have focused on including the bill in the state's new budget.
UPDATE #2: Via Scott Bauer, Walker has confirmed the presser will occur at 3:15.
After months of negotiations, a public financing proposal for a new downtown Milwaukee arena may finally be upon us.
Jessica Arp of Madison's WISC reported Wednesday evening that an arena financing package would be formally announced by stakeholders at a 3 pm press conference on Thursday. The news comes just a day after the Bucks officially proposed a $400 million ancillary development project on County land adjacent to the proposed arena site.
Multiple sources confirm officials will announce an arena deal tomorrow afternoon in Madison. First reported by @news3jessica— A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) June 4, 2015
One source says Gov. Walker, Sen. Fitzgerald, and Speaker Vos were in a meeting "for quite a while" today.— A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) June 4, 2015
Word of a deal is of course welcome news for Bucks fans, though a number of crucial hurdles would remain. In order to be included in the final state budget, any deal would have to first be approved by the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which would then require approval from the full legislature. Alternatively, the arena package could also be split out from the budget entirely, a move that appears to have the support of most senate Republicans. Via the Journal-Sentinel:
All Democrats are certain to vote against the GOP budget. Republican lawmakers opposed to the Bucks plan would have to decide whether its inclusion was enough to make them vote against their party's budget.
If the Bucks deal gets a separate vote on the Senate floor, some Milwaukee Democrats might be willing to vote for that proposal, giving more Republicans a chance to vote against it.
Of the nine Milwaukee Democrats reached by the Journal Sentinel so far this week, none is committing to vote for the deal at the moment. Two of them, Carpenter and Rep. Josh Zepnick, are flat opposed to the deal as currently laid out, while the remaining seven said they need more details.
Unfortunately, it's not clear if either approach has the votes to pass at this point, though you'd hope that Walker, Vos and Fitzgerald would have that sorted out before moving forward with a deal. I mean...right?
As for what the package may look like, our best guess would be to start with what we heard last week. At that point, the parameters of a deal reportedly included $93 million from existing Wisconsin Center District tourist taxes, $35 million from the city for a parking garage, an additional $12 million in city tax incremental financing, $55 million in county debt collections assigned to the state, and another $55 million in reported jock tax incremental funding from the state. A further $20 million in Bradley Center debt would likely be passed on to the state as well, while the arena itself would be rolled into an expanded Wisconsin Center District.
The new package will hopefully also shed light on some key parameters we haven't heard anything about, including who would pay for potential cost overruns, how arena naming rights would be handled, and what kind of rent arrangement the Bucks would have. Those points could be used to sway fence-sitting legislators, especially those who have been waiting for a final package to make a decision.
As always: stay tuned.