But for months here in the state capital, Walker has pushed hard to use $250 million in taxpayer money to pay for a new professional basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks — confusing and angering the fiscal conservatives who usually support him.
“The stark political reality is that the proposal is a $250 million taxpayer subsidy for the Bucks and their billionaire owners in a budget rife with cuts for other programs,” Charlie Sykes, a popular and influential conservative radio show host in Milwaukee, wrote in a column listing 10 reasons the deal “is a hot mess.”
The proposal nearly derailed passage of Walker’s two-year state budget and is just one in a series of chaotic local controversies that he has had to navigate as he prepares to officially launch a national presidential campaign Monday.
Dealing with legislation at home was supposed to be the low-drama part of Walker’s year. Instead, things here in Madison have been in turmoil for months — a complication for a governor building his presidential candidacy around his ability to get things done. Walker has spent much of the year feuding not only with Democrats — a fight he relishes — but also with fellow Republicans over proposals such as the Bucks’ arena.
MADISON, Wis. — When Gov. Scott Walker launches his presidential campaign Monday, he will pitch himself as a penny-pinching fiscal hawk who wants lower taxes, cuts in government spending and less government assistance.