Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Welcome to Walky World Part 2: Walker diverts education money to a big toy for big Bucks

Steve Benen at MSNBC/Rachel Maddow Show reports on Scott "Walky" Walker's use of taxpayers' funds to build a new sports stadium.

... the far-right governor, who claims to be a fiscal conservative and who’s repeatedly slashed public investments in niceties such as education, made a significant financial commitment on behalf of taxpayers. All told, Wisconsin residents will pony up between $400 million and $450 million for this new venue.

The "new venue"?

... the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks ... want out of the Bradley Center, which opened way back in 1988, and also want a new half-billion-dollar arena.

Of course, investing in a new stadium brings in lots of revenue for things like education, right?


And what about the arguments that these projects are good for the local economy? As regular readers may recall, the economic impact of new venues tends to be wildly exaggerated.

Benen recommends the John Oliver video. It's great. The segment on the Milwaukee Bucks runs 9:20 to 10:20 and there is more at 13:10 to 13:40.

Paul Waldman at Washington Post/Plum Line notes an interesting trade-off.

That $250 million that taxpayers will be spending for the benefit of a single private enterprise just happens to be the same amount that Walker succeeded in cutting from the state’s university system this year. And an interesting sidelight to the story is that one of the Bucks owners, Jon Hammes, is a national finance co-chairman of Walker’s campaign and has given $150,000 to a Walker super PAC.

Welcome to Walky World where white is black, bad is good, and every stadium is above average.

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