Walker optimistic on Bucks arena deal

Gov. Scott Walker is getting personally involved in discussions on public financing for a new Milwaukee Bucks arena, saying a deal could be worked out soon.

Lawmakers, local officials and Walker’s administration met last week to talk about an alternative to Walker’s original call for the state to borrow $220 million for the project. Ahead of those talks, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said the guv had been on the sidelines in the discussions to date, though Walker’s chief of staff was a central figure in the talks.

Walker said he will attend a meeting today in Milwaukee to help hash out a plan.

“I think it’s important to show just how serious things are, that I want to be personally a part of that,” said Walker, speaking to reporters in Milwaukee last night. “I think us being there together, I think there’s enough movement together on what can be a reasonable plan going forward that we can get things done, either (Thursday) or in the not too distant future.”

But Walker sidestepped questions about possible arena plan details.

“We’re looking at numbers all over the place,” Walker said. “We’re not fixed on a certain number. We’re looking at something that can protect the taxpayers, avoid a tax increase, make sure the long-term benefit to the taxpayers is greater than the investment and gets us to an arena.”