A five-county sales tax backing construction bonds for Miller Park will officially sunset in 2020, as Wisconsin governor Tony Evers signs a bill that will make it disappear.
Home to the Milwaukee Brewers, Miller Park came together under a funding model that included a 0.1 percent sales tax that went into effect in 1996, covering the counties of Milwaukee, Ouzaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha. The tax has proven controversial at times, as at various points receipts were below projected levels. However, favorable economic conditions helped the numbers trend upward in recent years, and it appeared as far back as 2018 that officials were poised to retire the tax as early as 2020.
The tax is now heading toward its sunset, following Evers’ signing of a bill on Wednesday that will bring about its retirement. Technically, the bill calls for the tax to sunset by August 31, 2020, regardless of whether the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District pays off bonds and satisfies reserve requirements. Officials from the district do not believe that will be an issue, however, as they expect to accomplish those objectives by early 2020. More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The law requires the tax to disappear by Aug. 31 whether or not the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District had paid off its bonds and satisfied reserve requirements — though the district expects to meet those goals by early 2020….
Evers said in a tweet Wednesday he looks forward to working with the Brewers and Milwaukeeans “to ensure the Brewers’ success for years to come.”
The sales tax repays $290 million in construction debt plus interest for the stadium that opened in 2001.
It was once thought that the sales tax could sunset sooner, but it was based on some pretty optimistic estimates of 5.5 percent growth annually — which meant they were expecting the Milwaukee area to far outpace the national economy in terms of growth.