EDITORIAL: Unfair standard for casino plan - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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EDITORIAL: Unfair standard for casino plan

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Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013 4:00 pm

Walker is erecting an insurmountable barrier for tribal gaming. Why?

 

NORMALLY WHEN IT comes to investment, economic development and job creation, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a sensible and enthusiastic leader.

Consider the proposed iron mine in northwest Wisconsin. With sufficient legislative reform, Wisconsin was told, a private mining outfit would invest millions, develop the site, and generate 700 or more permanent jobs along with many others related to construction and support services. Walker was unmoved by opposition in the region — opinion seems to be about split down the middle — or changes sought by the elected senator from the area. Neither did he feel constrained by strong opposition — including the threat of litigation — from the Bad River band, whose reservation borders the proposed mine location.

On the merits, we think Walker’s right. Plenty of details remain to be worked out, but Wisconsin should try to work with developers to bring investment and jobs to people who need opportunities in this state.

 

WHICH BRINGS US to the governor’s puzzling attitude toward Native American gaming.

Last week Walker said any casino plan would have to receive federal approval and be strongly supported by the proposed host community.

Then he fired the kill shot. Any one of the 11 Wisconsin tribes could veto the proposal of any other tribe. The governor said he would demand consensus among the tribes before he would consider approving a proposal. He defined that in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Consensus doesn’t mean 10 yes and one no. Consensus means everybody says yes.”

Seriously?

The governor knows that’s a turn-off-the-lights-the-party’s-over standard — unreachable for a casino plan or, for that matter, anything else. Imagine applying that standard to mining legislation, for heaven’s sake. Requiring unanimity is the same as saying no.

 

FROM A PRACTICAL standpoint, the 11 Wisconsin tribes frequently feud among themselves and seldom occupy common ground, particularly in competitive conditions. In a more localized sense, the Bad River and St. Croix Chippewa bands tried unsuccessfully for years to achieve federal approval for a Beloit casino. The Chippewa felt undercut when the Ho-Chunk Nation subsequently moved into Beloit, attempting to secure approval for its own plan.

Without comment on the merits of the tribal disagreement, this much seems likely: Getting a “yes” from the Chippewa would be very difficult.

And under Walker’s criteria, a Chippewa “no” would be enough to kill the investment for Beloit.

That makes about as much sense as saying Wal-mart would not be permitted to build a store anywhere in Wisconsin if Shopko or Sears objected.

The governor says the tribes should be treated differently than other businesses because they have a monopoly on gaming in Wisconsin. Maybe. But different shouldn’t be defined as establishment of an insurmountable barrier.

 

HO-CHUNK LEADERS are publicly optimistic, not surprising since they want to keep their development hopes alive. President Jon Greendeer told the Beloit Daily News the Nation’s compact specifically allows it to develop one more casino site. He points out the compact was established with the state in 1992, then renewed in 1999 and 2003.

“I don’t see why the governor would breach the compact,” Greendeer said. “I wouldn’t expect him to.”

Obviously, the plan still has a long way to go. The federal portion of the process remains in the early stages and a decision is at least a couple years away.

The stakes are high. The Ho-Chunk proposal calls for a $200 million investment for a complete complex — casino, hotel, restaurants and shops. Some 1,500 jobs, more or less, are projected — and that doesn’t count the hundreds of construction workers who would be employed building the complex. Many more jobs likely would be created as other businesses located to the area to service casino visitors. The Ho-Chunk have agreed to pay local governments millions of dollars annually to cover necessary services.

One need only look at another headline from the Daily News last week to see why such a major development opportunity is important to this community. That headline read, “Southeastern Container to close.”

 

FOR A GOVERNOR who has been all about investment and jobs, this is a puzzler. Some may wonder if the man who has chosen to erect an unreasonable barrier is speaking strictly as the governor, or at least partly as the preacher’s son.

We understand that gambling stirs moral questions. If that’s the real story behind Gov. Walker’s decision to set a standard he knows can’t be met, he should just say so.

Meanwhile, Beloit strongly supports the plan and its leadership should stay the course. Likewise, the Ho-Chunk Nation has proven itself an honorable partner and we trust President Greendeer and his colleagues will pursue the plan until a final determination is made. That could take years. By then, Gov. Walker could have had a change of heart. Or someone else could be sitting in his chair.

The odds are longer. But the game isn’t over.

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8 comments:

  • Mr Data posted at 10:17 am on Wed, Mar 6, 2013.

    Mr Data Posts: 3836

    The casino should be nobody's business but the governments of Beloit and Rock County. If they approve it, then no one else should have the ability to override their decision.

    I have said it numerous times in this BDN blog. I am never suprised anymore at the incredible insanity that comes out of the Oval Office in Washington DC and the Gov's office up in Madison WI.

    Gov. Scot (Scooter) Walker is a horrible, horrble leader in Wisconsin. HIS actions resemble the exact same leadership style of our illustrious President in Washington, Barack (DO-DO Bird) Obama.

    It sickens (and scares) me to see that men like these are the very best our state, and our nation, can elect ot lead us.

    Walker promised this state 250,000 NEW jobs for Wisconsin in his first term. He has -- using his very own new job counting methods - created only 20,000 new jobs. He's running out of time. And we can see why his numbers are so low.

    Similarly, Obama promised this nation that his Keynesian economics practice of a $TRILLION dollar STIMULUS would also create so many new jobs that our nation's unemployment would be below 7% by the Nov. 2012 election. He didn't make it, our nation now has fewer jobs than when he took office in 2009, but thanks to a very - very friendly, supportive national news media he got re-elected anyway

    So whether it be President Obama's failure to support job creation activities such as the Keystone pipeline that would create a hundred thousand new jobs for our nation, or Gov. Walker's failure to support the new Ho Chunk gaming casino and 3,000 new jobs here in Beloit, it appears that voters don't care. They just keep voting for and putting into public office terrible political leaders who demonstrate daily they could care less about us -- the citizens and taxpayers -- and only care about themselves and their campaign donors.

    The Beloit community has long fought to get a casino. A new casino would be a welcomed revenue / job creator for the entire stateline area. But we have an idiot in Madison who doesn't care about Beloit's economy.

    People are right when they claim our nation is being 'dumbed' down. With imbeciles like those we elected to lead us in Madison and Washington -- we're becoming a nation of imbeciles ourselves.

     
  • billtinder posted at 9:38 am on Wed, Mar 6, 2013.

    billtinder Posts: 4701

    I suspect "stateline" is one of my neighbors out here on stateline road, so I would speculate that perhaps this poster has been led to believe that our property values might double as a result of this casino investment. How true any of that is,would be anybody's guess. Perhaps, we would merely have our land forcibly taken from us by our local government for less than what we find acceptable, much like the Truckenbods situation in Beloit.
    However, I did not choose this location, with an eye towards speculative riches; but rather because it's where I want to live. Therefore I don't see any real advantage to the increased traffic, nor do I believe that tourism will increase to any great amount, except at the casino. I also did not approve of the way Ho-chunk muscled out the Chippewa tribe's attempt to build a competing casino. With out a viable competitor, Ho-chunk will find it hard to keep the pay-off odds where they should be. Perhaps Gov. Walker's sense of fairness was equally offended; and this is just his way helping the Ho-chunk nation to settle up fairly with the smaller tribes. In any case, I applaud his clever actions.

    Still the stateline area is in need of jobs,so my feelings are mixed on this subject. Maybe the good governor could find a way to help stimulate job growth in this area some other way.

     
  • Blah-de-Blah posted at 11:22 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    Blah-de-Blah Posts: 140

    The only reason I like the idea of the casino is that it could increase tourism to the area. The big word there is COULD. My suspicion is that the casino will just draw in the about 100,000 people that are within the hour range radius of Beloit and nothing more. In the end, that simply means that there will be traffic into the area, but no tourism. Anyone who seriously thinks that people are going to come in from all over Wisconsin to visit "The Beloit Casino" (Que exclamation points and sparklers) is really building themselves up to get let down.

     
  • 1badbubyu posted at 7:23 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    1badbubyu Posts: 1264

    I am not a supporter of the casino project either. There has got to be better ways to create jobs.

     
  • beloiter1961 posted at 4:35 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    beloiter1961 Posts: 24

    I am not a supporter of the casino in Beloit, but I am more concerned about Walker trying to micro-manage every aspect of a Wisconsinite's life. He has his own agenda ( or that of the Koch brothers), so we need our legislator's to stand up to him NOW.

     
  • cynicaleye posted at 3:55 pm on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    cynicaleye Posts: 510

    Those of you who think the casino is going to be the economic savior of Beloit are living in a fools paradise. Just look what has happened to Atlantic City.

     
  • 1badbubyu posted at 8:22 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    1badbubyu Posts: 1264

    With all the talk of what the Gov. is doing has anyone answered the question of whether or not a casino would have the customer base to be successful and stay open? I do think that the Gov. is taking a bit of a moral stance here, which is fine with me but a little more disclosure is a good idea. The question I have is , if that's the case why has the Gov. been able to voice his opinion on other issues that required a moral stance....but not here? Granted this is a much simpler issue than say abortion, but it seems to me mentioning the morality or lack there of in gambling wouldn't hurt.

    Then again I don't have to deal with the flack Walker does for opening my mouth!!

     
  • Stateline posted at 7:17 am on Tue, Mar 5, 2013.

    Stateline Posts: 2

    Well said! I support the casino project 100%!

     

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