Amidst Belt-Tightening, Gov. Scott Walker Finds $400 Million to Buy NBA Bucks a New Arena

Election '16

It seems nothing will dampen Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's enthusiasm for building the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks a new arena on $400 million of the taxpayer's dime. Walker, you no doubt recall, has based his presidential run on his skill in championing a series of draconian budget cuts in his home state, cuts conspicuously targeted at the state's public workers and education system—to blow through nearly half a billion dollars on a single sports venue seems at odds with Walker's whole tightening our belts, and by our belts I mean your belts persona. Nobody can quite figure out why Scott Walker is so keen on this thing.

At Wednesday’s signing, the Republican presidential candidate’s message of being a tightfisted taxpayer champion will be weighed against public costs spread over 20 years. The ceremony also may draw attention to the $200,000 that the co-owners of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks donated to a group backing his campaign.

Nope, still stumped.

The governor has friendships among the team’s owners, including some who contributed to his presidential effort. Through a limited-liability corporation registered under his son’s name, Bucks co-owner Jon Hammes on May 27 donated $150,000 to the super political action committee backing Walker, according to state and federal records.

It is a mystery. Walker says Milwaukee needs the new arena because otherwise the Bucks have threatened to leave, and a Milwaukee without the Bucks would be reduced to a snowbound apocalyptic hellscape where the living would envy the dead. But I still can't help feeling we're missing some key reason why Walker might want to really, really do a specific favor for fabulously wealthy people during these first critical months of his long-planned presidential run.

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