Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said that he believes sides are nearing an agreement that would secure the public’s share of funding for a new Bucks arena in Milwaukee, The Associated Press reports. Bucks president Peter Feigin said 10 days ago that he wanted to see negotiations wrap up by today, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com wrote recently that funding had to be secured by June for the team to remain on course to satisfy the NBA’s demands for a new building. The NBA has imposed a November 2017 deadline for the arena to be in place and the league intends to exercise its right to seize control of the franchise from owners Wesley Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan and relocate it if construction doesn’t begin soon, according to Windhorst.
Walker’s proposal earlier this year for a $220MM bonding plan that would draw from a “jock tax” on players and other team personnel met with stiff opposition from the Wisconsin legislature, which instead is proposing a $150MM plan for the $500MM arena. Current Bucks ownership and former owner Herb Kohl have pledged a combined $250MM toward the building.
Bucks officials and state and local leaders have been meeting to try to hammer out a deal, and Walker joined the talks Thursday, the AP notes. Commissioner Adam Silver has publicly maintained an upbeat tone regarding the future of the team in Milwaukee and said last week that he maintained faith that a funding deal would come.