Friday, January 23, 2015

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino In Kenosha Proposal Rejected By Governor Walker

The Office of Governor Walker has announced that a proposal by the Menomonee Tribe to built a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha has been rejected.

By H. Nelson Goodson 
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

January 23, 2015

Madison, WI - On Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) announced that a proposal from the Menomonee Tribe to built a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha has been rejected. Walker says, it would have cost state taxpayers more than $100M in the long run.
"After a comprehensive review of the potential economic impact of the proposed Kenosha casino project, the risk to the state's taxpayers is too great," said Governor Walker.  "Due to the compacts negotiated by Governor Doyle, the current cost to taxpayers of approving the proposed casino project is up to $100 million and the long-term economic hit to the state budget would be a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars."
The Governor Walker's office reported, that the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs took more than nine years to review the proposed casino project.  For over a year, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch conducted a comprehensive economic analysis of the potential impact of the proposed casino project.  In an ideal scenario, jobs could have been created by the casino, the reality of Governor Doyle's compacts with the tribes open the State of Wisconsin up to significant litigation risk, which would put state taxpayers on the hook for up to hundreds of millions of dollars. 
Walker took into consideration the following report and decided to reject the Menomonee Tribe proposal.
In a report to Governor Walker, Secretary Huebsch explained the outstanding issues facing the proposed casino, which could have a devastating impact on the state budget:

Although the Kenosha casino could result in these positive economic benefits, approval also comes with substantial and significant risks.  Our analysis shows taxpayers could lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars of tribal revenue sharing payments as a result of the compact negotiated by Governor Jim Doyle. Due to the legal exposure created by the Doyle compacts, beyond just losing future revenue, approving the Kenosha casino could require taxpayers to pay FCPC [Forest County Potawatomi Community] hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds of previous payments made to the State.  If the Kenosha casino is approved, there are a number of other issues that should be considered:

● the impact of possible expanded gaming in northern Illinois;

● the Menominee's use of more than 220 acres that would likely be put in trust;

● the cost of litigation;

● the consequences of a delayed casino opening;

● the immediate and long-term impact on our state budget and consequently Wisconsin taxpayers; and,

● the cost of indemnifying FCPC.

The Menomonee Tribe leadership criticized Governor Walker's decision to reject their casino proposal and blamed the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe and Walker's aspiration to run for president for rejecting the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino project in Kenosha. The Forest County Potawatomi Tribe supported Walker's decision to reject the Menomonee Tribe's Kenosha Hard Rock Hotel and Casino project.
Tribal Chairwoman Laurie Boivin told Fox 6 News that the project would have improved the lives of nearly 9,000 Menomonee tribal members.
The project in Kenosha would have created about 3,000 good paying jobs, in addition, 1,400 construction jobs and 1,500 in indirect jobs, which the tribe had a union labor commitment. More than $800M of investment was projected for the hotel and casino plan, according to Boivin.
On the long run, the project would have created about $10,600 jobs and would have been a $1.6B investment in the state, millions in new payments to the state and contributions to schools ($1.5M annually) and charities.

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