The following is correspondence sent from Menominee Tribal chairman Gary Besaw to Milwaukee city officials concerning the Menominee's recent offer to give $220 million for the Bucks impending arena if a Hard Rock casino in Kenosha is approved. The proposal was quickly dismissed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Milwaukee Bucks last Tuesday.
"Dear Milwaukee Area State Legislators,
"I know that some of you have been concerned about the possible ramifications on Milwaukee of a Menominee Hard Rock casino in Kenosha. Yes, there might be a modest loss of revenue, but that will be temporary.
"We think there might be a much bigger loss to Milwaukee and your constituents if a Kenosha casino is not approved! Of course you are aware that my Tribe is willing to fully fund the state share of a new Bucks arena. Here is why:
"1. Wisconsin taxpayers, including your constituents, will be on the hook for paying for a new Bucks arena that under the Governor's plan will cost $220 million, and if interest is included, that cost raises to almost $500 million* ($480 to be more precise). Paying for that will mean that much less for your constituents in either tax relief or state services.
"2. There appears to be some push-back to the Governor's plan from some legislative leaders who are saying that maybe the state can afford $100 million, but the rest needs to come from the city of Milwaukee, the county of Milwaukee or from the Bucks owners themselves. Can your constituents and the city and county afford to pay the $120 million that some state leaders wanted shifted to Milwaukee?
"3. Okay, so maybe the city and county don't have to pay the full $120 million shortfall. The Bucks owners are already offering $150 million. Do they want to put in another $50 to $100 million? Or are they off to Seattle?
"4. Maybe the Forest County Potawatomi would be willing to chip in something? They sure have tried to stay out of the picture. Guess they are too busy fighting off competition from Kenosha and soon from northern Illinois.
"We think the handwriting is on the wall. If you want the Bucks to stay in Milwaukee, it is going to cost your constituents, the city, the county and the Bucks owners a lot more. The only way for that not to happen is for the Governor to take a serious look at the Menominee Hard Rock offer. The only way for state taxpayers not to be on the hook for nearly half a billion dollars is the Menominee Hard Rock offer.
"The choice is yours and the Governor's. We would be glad to discuss our offer with you at your convenience.
Menominee Tribal Chairman
"P.S. When you pay off a $220 million bond over 30 years on an escalating basis as the "jock tax" increases the cost escalates to $480 million. If the payment were flat for 30 years, the cost would be $380 million."