Racine Co. to evaluate tax for new Bucks arena

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Racine Co. to evaluate tax for new Bucks arena

By Michelle Richards. CREATED Aug 13, 2013

RACINE - The Racine County Board is expected to vote Tuesday night on a resolution clarifying its stance on a regional sales tax to help pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.

"We don't want to be included in a tax for quality of life issues, in particular, that are occurring in Milwaukee County," said Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig.

A regional sales tax has not yet been proposed to pay for a new arena, but Ladwig felt it was important to clarify the county's position on the matter should it come up.

When construction on Miller Park in Milwaukee started in 1996, the state legislature imposed a five-county regional sales tax to help fund it. Racine County was included in that tax.

"That has caused a lot of angst with our residents and that has led to the overwhelming support regarding this issue," said Ladwig.

Ladwig said Racine County has its own public spaces to pay for, like museums, the Racine Zoo, Reefpoint Marina and county parks. In addition, the county would not benefit economically from a new arena in Milwaukee.

"That economic impact is going to 99.9 percent lie right in the city of Milwaukee and we don't feel that it's fair to ask us to fund it," he explained.

Ladwig stressed that the resolution doesn't mean Racine County is against Milwaukee County or the Bucks.

"Racine County still believes in having a regional concept," he said. "However, we also believe in equity and fairness and believe that the municipality or the government entity that is going to receive the greatest benefit should be the one that's looked at to fund these items."

Ladwig said he expects the resolution to pass unanimously.

Ozaukee County is considering a similar resolution.