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Brewers don't pay property taxes on Miller Park

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Associated Press

MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers do not pay property taxes on the portion of Miller Park they own, according to a Legislative Audit Bureau review.

The report, released Wednesday, said under state law, sports stadiums - including parking lots, garages, restaurants, parks, concession facilities, entertainment facilities, transportation facilities, land and equipment - are exempt from the property tax.

In addition, all materials, supplies and equipment used to build Miller Park were exempt from the sales tax.

The Miller Park stadium district owns 70 percent of the stadium, while the Brewers own 30 percent.

The report said the Brewers appear to operate under a limited partnership and receive no special income tax privileges.

The state legislature's Committee on Legislative Organization has authority to review the Brewers' tax returns but, under state law, would not be able to discuss the tax returns with the legislature or the public.

Some legislators, including Assembly Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer, R-West Bend, and Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer, D-Manitowoc, asked the nonpartisan audit bureau to review the team's tax exemptions as part of their request for the Brewers to open their books for review.

The legislators made the request in the wake of the departure of former Brewers President Ulice Payne Jr. and the team's decision to reduce player payroll by about 25 percent to $30 million in 2004.

Panzer said she and other legislators would try to meet with the Brewers next week.

H. Carl Mueller, a spokesman for the Brewers' board, has said he hoped an accommodation between the team and legislative leaders could be reached.

The audit bureau report also said luxury suites at Miller Park are subject to "special rental payments" instead of the sales tax. The Brewers' rental payment to the district, about $900,000 this year, is due December 1.

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