By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Apr 04, 2007 at 3:11 PM

Twelve years ago today, April 4, 1995, voters across the state went to the polls and rejected the creation of a sports lottery.  By a 2-1 margin voters said no to this creative and somewhat tax-free approach to building the Milwaukee Brewers a new ballpark.  

A sports lottery would have been simple.  A lottery game, that people could choose to play or not to play, where proceeds would be funneled into a general fund that would finance sports facilities in the state.  

Sure, it could have tempered some of the minor property tax relief from the current lottery.  But, it also could have become a very nice way -- a tax-free way -- to not only build Miller Park, but also remodel Lambeau Field and maybe even build the Bucks a new facility.  It would have required a Constitutional change too.  Nonetheless, voters rejected it based on the current climate and somewhat general distaste for the sport. (you may recall, 1995 wasn't the best year for baseball -- no World Series in ‘94 and a strike).

Baseball, of course, has more than survived in Milwaukee but we, the taxpayers, have helped it.  We also helped the Packers, and soon will be asked to help the Bucks.  

Personally, I have no problem with my tax dollars going to sports as professional sports are about the only thing that truly put Milwaukee and Wisconsin on the national radar.  I'd rather my taxes go to sports than roads, pensions and pet projects like bridges.  But, that's other discussion.  

I bring this up sports lottery business up for a few reasons.  One, I was a consultant working for the sports lottery in 1995 and it was an amazing time in my life.  I learned a lot about the good, the bad and the ugly in Milwaukee.  Two, wouldn't a sports lottery be the perfect thing to help finance a new soccer stadium and a new arena for the Bucks?

Why not?  I'd buy a ticket.  Would you?

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.