Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl said the NBA team needs a new arena to stay in town. However, Kohl isn’t likely to receive any help from state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos who opposes state and county tax plans to subsidize a new arena.
“I don’t necessarily buy into the philosophy that our whole country has that we need to have higher taxes to support major arenas so that they can pay the players even more beyond their million-dollar salaries,” Vos said in a Journal Sentinel report published June 10.
A week earlier, Kohl said a new arena is vital for the franchise.
“We have to find a way and we will find a way,” Kohl said in a Journal Sentinel report published June 3. “We know we have to find a way to a new facility and we will. The question is when and how. But we will because that is the future of not only the Bucks … Milwaukee and Wisconsin need a 21st century sports and entertainment complex.”
He added: “We have to get there. It’s important for our community and our state to get there. And along with that, that will see to it that the Bucks stay here. They sort of need each other. A facility needs the Bucks, and the Bucks need a facility. We are determined to get there.”
The Bucks have played in the $91 million Bradley Center since Oct. 1, 1988.
Kohl knows it’s going to be a difficult garnering support for taxpayer subsidies on a million-dollar arena project for a team that’s posted losing records in eight of the past nine seasons.
Kohl, 78, is a a Milwaukee native and four-term U.S. Senator from Wisconsin who recently retired from the Senate. He’s owned the Bucks since March 1, 1985 and has said that he’ll eventually sell the team. However, he won’t entertain offers from buyers who want to move the franchise.
“I have always said I will own the team until it’s sold at some point to somebody or some group that … is dedicated to keeping it here in Wisconsin,” Kohl told the Journal Sentinel. “So when the time comes and the right person or group appears, my mind will start moving in another direction. But they must stay here. That’s the bottom line.”