In a move that seems to be all about his 2016 presidential aspirations and nothing else, Republican Gov. Scott Walker announced yesterday he will reject the Menominee tribe’s proposed Hard Rock Casino in Kenosha.
Walker, who is exploring a presidential campaign, put the kibosh on the casino one day before he heads to Iowa, an important state in the presidential sweepstakes. Some Iowa conservatives have urged the governor to veto the Kenosha casino.
Walker said his presidential aspirations had no bearing on his decision. Rather, he put the onus for killing the proposal on his Democratic predecessor, former Gov. Jim Doyle. Walker said that his administration had been working to strike a deal that would have potentially allowed a casino in both cities while protecting taxpayers.
As I noted earlier Gov. Walker’s decision to reject the proposed casino seems motivated entirely by his desire to be more palatable to conservatives who’ll decide on the next Republican presidential nominee, rather than being motivated by a genuine desire to act in the best interests of the citizens of Wisconsin.
After all, according to a consultant study of the Menominee tribe’s proposed Kenosha casino, while the Kenosha casino would siphon some business from casinos operated by the Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk tribes, it would have had a positive overall economic impact.
But the Nathan Associates report also noted the positive impact of a casino that would have been developed and managed by Hard Rock International, a firm owned by Florida’s Seminole tribe.
“The positive impacts of the proposed…casino in Kenosha and Menominee counties overwhelmingly outweigh the negative impacts in Milwaukee County and the Ho-Chunk Nation because the proposed Kenosha casino will create more new economic activity than it will cannibalize,” Huebsch wrote in the report summarizing the consultants’ reports.
Upon hearing word of Gov. Walker’s decision, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was quick to voice his disagreement, saying that he believed Gov. Walker got this decision wrong. For once, I’m actually inclined to agree with Robin Vos, because the Kenosha casino would have created lots of good jobs and would have been a boost for Kenosha’s economy, but instead now that community will continue to have a large piece of vacant lab and no new jobs along with it.