Evers veto could impact Snappers state aid efforts

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MADISON - A fund that could have allowed for tax dollars to be spent on building projects across the state, including a new downtown stadium for the Beloit Snappers baseball team, has been partially vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.

Evers took action on Wednesday to sign the 2019-21 state budget, making a total of 78 changes to the Republican legislators' proposed budget.

As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, the mechanism used by the team to possibly secure public dollars would have come from a newly-established building program in the state capital budget. The fund would have provided $25 million to establish a grant program. The program could have assisted facility construction for non-state organizations, such as the Snappers, but required municipalities to apply for funding on behalf of the requesting organization.

"I am partially vetoing this provision because I object to providing scarce state resources in this manner when there are higher priorities for this bonding," Evers said.

In his partial veto, Evers said he would retain $3 million for the Nekoosa-based Incourage Community Foundation economic community hub, while directing the additional $22 million to support Wisconsin Department of Corrections construction efforts in building a juvenile justice center to replace the Lincoln Hills facility.

"This will ensure that, as soon as possible, the state is able to provide housing for youth closer to their homes and in the least restrictive appropriate setting," Evers said.

The Snappers recently hired lobbyists Peter Kammer and Nels A. Rude to pursue economic development incentives for the stadium project on behalf of the Beloit Professional Baseball Association, according to a June 21 filing at the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.

Evers will now bring the motion before the state building commission that's jointly made up of Republicans and Democrats.

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