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Evers signs Brewer ballpark funding plan

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin taxpayers are officially on the hook for $500 million for the Milwaukee Brewers’ ballpark.

Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed the ballpark funding plan.

“Through months of hard work, we were able to reach consensus and find a compromise that safeguards taxpayer dollars and is supported by all involved parties and ensures the Milwaukee Brewers will remain here in Milwaukee through 2050,” Evers said in a statement.

Evers high-fived the Brewers’ racing sausages after he signed the deal.

The public funding package means $366 million from state taxpayers and $135 million from taxpayers in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will be earmarked for American Family Field over the next 27 years.

The deal also means a new ticket tax for non-Brewer games at American Family Field and means the Brewers will pay $150 million for the stadium over the same nearly three decades.

Evers said, despite the costs, the funding package is a good deal for the state.

“With billions of dollars in annual economic impact and hundreds of local, family-supporting jobs, I’m proud today to be signing these bills to ensure the Milwaukee Brewers will continue being a critical part of our state’s future economic success and a defining part of our state’s history and traditions for future generations,” Evers said.

Not everyone shares the governor’s enthusiasm.

Half of the Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate voted against the funding package. They either thought the price tag was too large or didn’t want to spend public money on the stadium for the Brewers.

But Wisconsin taxpayers would have been on the hook for the ballpark regardless.

The Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District owns the stadium and leases the field to the Brewers.

Evers and other supporters say taxpayers would have had to pay for repairs, one way or another, even if the Brewers left Milwaukee.

This new deal keeps the Brewers in town through at least 2050.

The details of a new lease for the ballpark, and the timeline for the repair and renovation work at American Family Field, need to be worked out next.

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