Scott Walker Defends Tax Dollars, Possible Rate Hike for New Sports Arena

Walker was in Iowa to attend the "Roast and Ride" when he spoke with ABC News.

June 07, 2015, 2:15 PM

— -- Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker is defending approval of $250 million in state taxpayer funds to help build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA.

The project is a "good deal" for the state economy, he told ABC News' Jonathan Karl on "This Week," and he insisted that it is "not a new tax."

"We would lose $419 million over the next 20 years if we did nothing, if we said, go on, move somewhere else, which the NBA said they would do," Walker continued. "In this case, we don't raise any taxes. There are no new taxes, only existing taxes. And we get a three to one return."

The project will be funded by existing taxes on hotel rooms and rental cars, though the Wisconsin Center Board has the authority to raise the rate, he said.

"In this case, we take the tax, the revenues on hotels and rental cars that are currently paid for the convention center and allow those to continue to be paid for a new arena," Walker said. "It's not a new tax."

Conservative advocacy groups, including the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, have blasted the proposal as bad for taxpayers, but Walker brushed off the criticism.

"All across the nation when they do projects like this," Walker said. "It's a good deal."

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