He didn’t bring out the heavy artillery–yet–but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear the future of the Milwaukee Brewers depends on state funding of lease-mandated repairs to American Family Field, as political feuding continues.
We previewed Manfred’s visit to Milwaukee yesterday, and his comments went pretty much as we predicted: argue for the need for the state to cover lease-mandated repairs. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers wants to use part of a $7 billion surplus to pay for the $290 million in ballpark maintenance and improvements–in cash, with no borrowing. That spending would cover lease-mandated renovations like roof and HVAC repairs, with the Brewers funding the rest of the $448 million project price tag to cover fan-facing upgrades. When a ballpark is over 20 years old, those roof and HVAC repairs are fairly routine.
The Republicans in control of the Assembly, arguing American Family Field is a “local project,” want to spend less state money on the repairs and require the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to come up with the rest. Hence the impasse, and hence the need for Manfred to be involved. But the Republicans controlling both houses of the Legislature have yet to unveil their own specific plan to address the lease-mandated repairs.
So while Manfred’s visit was undoubtedly a pleasant one for all involved, it’s hard to argue he really made much of an impact in the proceedings. The Republicans are gonna Republican and work to stick it to Milwaukee, opposing a perfectly fiscally responsible plan from Evers because, well, Evers is a Democrat. Such is the dysfunctional nature of Wisconsin politics.
RELATED STORIES: Battle over AmFamField renovations pulls Manfred into fray; Murky waters ahead for American Family Field renovations; Initial funding proposal for American Family Field renovations shot down; State surplus would help fund American Family Field maintenance; Milwaukee County debates American Family Field development; Brewers warn of need for American Family Field improvements