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DNC convention: Who’s gonna pay?

Empower Wisconsin | Dec. 17, 2019

By Dan Benson for the Badger Institute

MILWAUKEE — The Democratic National Convention to be held in Milwaukee next July will pump $200 million into the city and state economies — or so city leaders and organizers have been touting. But there’s plenty of reason to think that Mayor Tom Barrett and organizers have overpromised and will underdeliver.

Up to 50,000 party delegates, media, donors, activists, volunteers and others will be filling hotel rooms within a 150-mile radius of the city’s downtown. They will be eating, drinking and nominating their way to choosing a candidate they hope can defeat President Donald Trump in November 2020.

The hope: With more than 2,000 events planned so far during the July 13-16 convention, centered mostly in the Fiserv Forum area, there will be lots of opportunities for restaurants, caterers, bars and others to cash in. Visitors will come early, stay late and take home a lasting impression of a friendly, vibrant Wisconsin.

The reality: The Democrats’ record of unpaid bills, the experience of previous host cities and the unquantified costs suggest that state or city taxpayers might well be left footing some of the bill for the four-day extravaganza.

Barrett is already floating the idea of asking for help from taxpayers statewide — a suggestion that rankles some Wisconsin legislators.

Read the entire story at the Badger Institute.

Dan Benson is a longtime Wisconsin journalist. Janet Fee, a University of Chicago student from Wauwatosa, contributed to this story.

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