(The Center Square) – Rep. David Steffen, R-Green Bay, said many people in Brown County like the idea of a Lambeau Field tax refund. But as Packer fans, Steffen says the same people are a bit suspicious of his stadium tax plan.
Steffen, who not only represents Green Bay but previously worked for the Packers, wants to get rid of the Green Bay / Brown County professional football stadium district and allow the City of Green Bay to essentially resume its functions.
“We have developed [The Stadium District] to get through the process of the $ 300 million redevelopment project, but we really haven’t spent a lot of time considering ending that process, ”Steffen told The Center Square.
The Wisconsin legislature approved the Stadium District, a Lambeau Field sales tax of 0.5% and a ticket tax in 1999 to pay for these renovations. The sales tax ended in 2015, but the District and ticket tax continue.
Steffen wants to transfer the two to the town of Green Bay.
“The stadium district, at the end of 2015, no longer had a statutory mission. However, it still exists and still has a huge amount of excess revenue under its control, $ 81 million, which it can use for O&M expenses related to the Lambeau field, ”Steffen explained. “[The District], as part of its mission, has started to expand its approach, mission and use of dollars in recent years. And while I think the use of this money is meritorious, it is different and beyond the legislative and statutory authority granted to it. “
Steffen’s plan would not only shift tasks from the Stadium District, it would return most of that excess money to taxpayers.
“Since the taxpayers funded this, I want them to get the biggest bite of the apple,” Steffen said. “My draft contains $ 45 million of that $ 81 million that goes to taxpayers through a homeowners tax credit check. “
Steffen is clear, his plan is a rough one. He’s not just circling his proposal among Madison lawmakers, he’s also giving Brown County taxpayers a voice. Steffen has a little survey on its legislative website which asks fans what they think.
“People want to understand it,” Steffen said. “What’s going to happen to my team? What does this mean for the City of Green Bay? These are natural questions, and they go back to why I wanted to ask, ‘Okay, audience, here is my draft. Please let me know what you think, ‘. “
Steffen said taxpayers could get some of their money back and Packer fans shouldn’t worry about the team losing money.
“The Packers are now in the top five of all NFL organizations in the country,” Steffen said. “Their unencumbered cash reserves now exceed half a billion dollars. They generated, in a pandemic year without a single paid participant, $ 1.1 million per week in net profit. “
The Packers recently added to this financial data. The team is in the middle of a Sale of $ 90 million shares. This money is also intended for the modernization of the stadium.
Steffen plans to let his proposal get feedback and gauge his support on Capitol Hill before calling the idea to a vote.
The mayor of Green Bay has said he is ready to consider the proposal. Executives at Ashwaubenon, where Lambeau Field is technically located, say it’s premature to talk about the end of the Stadium District and the local tax situation.