By Ken Reed

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a self-described small government fiscal conservative, signed legislation this past week calling for $250 million of taxpayer money to go to the building of a new basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks’ billionaire owners.

Previously, Walker had championed major cuts to public education in Wisconsin and the state’s university system, as part of his small government platform.

It’s also important to note that the team’s ownership group includes one of Walker’s top presidential campaign fundraisers, Jon Hammes, a big-time Wisconsin real estate developer.

This is nothing new for Walker. He has a history of supporting public money for new sports palaces for wealthy pro sports franchise owners.

In a Washington Post piece, Jenna Johnson wrote:

“This is not an unusual arrangement for Wisconsin. When the Milwaukee Brewers professional baseball team built a new stadium in the late 1990s, the five counties closest to the new facility imposed a new sales tax to pay for the construction. Walker was a member of the state assembly at the time and voted for the funding plan.”

Maybe Walker is a small-government fiscal conservative — except when it comes to giving public money to his wealthy sports buddies.

Can you spell fraud?

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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