Legislative Republicans Announce Plan to Keep Brewers in Milwaukee

Republican legislators announced a bill Monday that would devote more than $614 million in public funding to repair and renovate the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium — far more than taxpayers spent to build it more than two decades ago.

Under the proposal, the state would give the team $60.8 million next fiscal year and up to $20 million each year after that through 2045-46. The city of Milwaukee would contribute a total of $202 million and Milwaukee County would kick in $135 million by 2050.

The team would contribute about $100 million and extend its lease at American Family Field through 2050, keeping Major League Baseball in its smallest market for another 27 years.

“It’s a win for Wisconsin,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said at a news conference at the stadium, American Family Field.

Seeking to justify the public spending, Vos said losing the Brewers to another city would cost the state and local economies tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, which could lead to diminished state aid for communities around Wisconsin. Baseball operations at American Family Field generate enough tax revenue that lawmakers can afford to give the team money without imposing any new taxes, Vos said.

Rick Schlesinger, the team’s president of business operations, called the proposal a “good first step” during a separate news conference later Monday. He said he expects the plan will be amended, but that he’d be happy with it if it were passed today.

The proposal would have to pass the Republican-controlled state Assembly and state Senate and get Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ signature before it could become law. Evers’ office issued a statement Monday saying he looked forward to reviewing the proposal.