MILWAUKEE — The new Brewers stadium funding deal is up to bat Tuesday.
The state Assembly takes up the $546 million taxpayer proposal - with an additional $100 million from the Brewers for repairs and renovations.
It's expected to pass but nearly 30 years ago it was a heavy lift.
Political Reporter Charles Benson talked with former Governor Tommy Thompson about the legislative battle to get a deal done.
On October 12, 1995, Governor Tommy Thompson signed the hard-fought $250-million stadium bill that allowed the Brewers to build a state-of-the-art - retractable roof ballpark.
"I was going to sacrifice a lot a lot of political capital to get it done, and I encourage the legislature to come along with it," said Thompson. "It was a tough, tough fight, as you know, Charles."
A five-county, one-tenth of one percent sales tax would pay for most of the construction and long-term costs. The sales tax ended in 2020.
Benson: What do you remember about trying to strike a deal, knowing that taxpayers were going to have to pay for this?
Thompson: I wanted it to be as fair and as equitable as possible.
The key vote would come hours after midnight from Racine state Senator George Petak. He switched his vote to yes to save the deal from collapsing. It would later cost him his job in a recall.
Thompson credits Petak and supporters for keeping the Brewers in Milwaukee.
"When you balance out the rate of return on the income from the sales tax and people participating and coming to Milwaukee to go to Brewer Stadium, it was worth it," said the four-term governor.
Fast forward to 2023 - Thompson is not surprised the stadium funding issue is before lawmakers again and he sees it as the right thing to do, again.
"More than likely, you're going to have to keep investing in your investment in order to make sure that you have a great stadium, which we do," Thompson said.
Governor Tony Evers, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and Mayor Cavalier Johnson have all signaled their support for the proposal.