A Modest Funding Proposal

To: Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, owners of the Milwaukee Bucks

You got your new arena funded! Congratulations. You’ve carried on the tradition of asking taxpayers to pony up for privately owned sports franchises’ new facilities. In the spirit of public-private partnership, I humbly submit a proposal whose financial diligence is self-evident. If you contribute your private money to these public matters, your new arena will be hosting sellout crowds in no time.

Using the model created by so many arenas before, I ask that arena ownership pay for 89 to 90 percent of these projects and upgrades.

The Plan:

Fixing potholes on my street so I that I may travel to your games more easily. Not necessary, but the city no longer has money to fix them. Figured as long as I’m asking, I’d throw the city a bone.

Funding arts and science programs in our school district that have been defunded following stadium investments. Improved education means more educated individuals, who will make more money, which they can use to buy Skittles-flavored churros at your publicly funded arena. Boom. Sound argument. Ditto on this being only marginally required. This is kind of stacking the deck. It’s a negotiation tactic. I could drop this.

Fixing the elevator in my building. It has gross teriyaki stains on the floor, so I sometimes don’t feel like leaving my apartment. I’m certainly not going to take the stairs. I’d get out and invigorate the economy harder if it were easier to go outside.

Gym memberships for at least me, maybe some other people. I haven’t bought Christmas gifts for my family yet. If I were in better shape, I might be more into sports, and then I’d come to your games. It’s at least worth exploring, right? Worst-case scenario, I don’t ask you to renew if I’m not going.

New car. This could just be for me, could be for other people too. Let’s talk about it. But if you buy, I retain the naming rights on the car. I’d like to name it Steven. I’ve always thought that was a good car name. You have to fill it with gas, too. You bought it. Why wouldn’t you keep it full of gas and protect your investment? Also, I’d like it to be a van, so I can open a “Man With A Van” business if I need to. Again, I keep all profits.

A really big gift card to Amazon so I can get some new books. That, or a gift card to a bookstore, but there aren’t any in my neighborhood anymore, so you’d have to build one. But that’s a big job creator, which is nice. Or, alternatively, you could build a new library that’s closer to my house. The one I have is just close enough away for me to go sometimes, so then I check out a book, but then it’s also far enough away that I never return the book, and I get fined. I’d go all the time if it were about three blocks away. Again, job creator.

If I accept this funding, I’d like the contract to stipulate that if any four of my neighbors get the same Apple products, you have to buy those products for me. That stuff is expensive, and I’m not sure I need the Apple Watch, but if I had it, maybe I’d like it. I don’t see why I’d like it, but I’m open to the idea that I might like it, but not so open to paying for it.

The Funding:

It’s mostly just you. The other ten percent, I’ll figure out.

I feel pretty strongly that if I have 90 percent funding, the other ten percent shouldn’t be too difficult to find. The city gives out money like candy when you’re involved, so I’d definitely think about getting in touch with them or Scott Walker. Minority owner Jon Hammes is close with him, right? Finance Chairman for his presidential bid? Great. Maybe you could put in a call for me. Plus, some of this stuff actually benefits the city and the state—that’s why I included it. While you’re out buying me the Apple Sock Garter, I’ll be securing that last ten percent by talking about how there’s going to be a library near my house, and you’re going to be filling potholes and whatever.

Unfortunately, I’ll need you to take my word for it that the funding can’t come from me. I don’t have any money. I’m losing money, in fact. I can’t show you my bank account or my Venmo. The money in my Venmo is from brunch last weekend. A bunch of us went, and I put down my card and everyone just Venmoed me, so it doesn’t reflect my true financial state. In fact, I’d say I lost money on the deal.

You understand that kind of thing.

The Benefits:

It’s really going to invigorate the community, create civic pride, that kind of thing. I think we’re all going to look back on this as a big win. A partnership that can serve as a model for cities, private corporations, and guys all around the world who just want some free stuff.

How many times have we heard the indisputable fact that deals like these bring jobs and revenue into the city? You know as well as I do that people enjoy sitting in tons of traffic to get to an arena district full of cookie-cutter bars. There’s nothing like sitting in an empty bar or restaurant in the arena district during a game for three or four hours, and then weathering the 45-minute storm of drunk people that wander in when the game is over. We understand these things. We understand how the community is enriched by me getting an Apple Watch. Maybe I’ll be more alert walking down the street because I won’t have to look at my phone anymore.

It’s indisputable. Your proposal and mine both bring money into the city and make it a better place, jumpstarting local businesses like Applebee’s and TGI Fridays and Papa John’s. I’ll totally order a bunch of Papa John’s from my Apple Watch. Also, please send some Papa John’s coupons.

Your acceptance of these terms will keep me here. I swear, if you don’t do this, I’ll move to Los Angeles.

Dustin Nelson, guy


Dustin Nelson is a writer and comedian. He tweets from his boring old iPhone.