State Rep. Peter Barca
Press Release

Gov. Walker turns away thousands of good-paying jobs, millions of new tourists by rejecting Kenosha casino project

Lack of Leadership Costs Wisconsin Thousands of Jobs

By - Jan 23rd, 2015 11:25 am
Kenosha Casino

Kenosha Casino

MADISON – Today Governor Walker rejected the Menominee casino project in Kenosha, turning away up to 10,000 projected jobs, millions of tourists and a $1.6 billion investment in Wisconsin over the next decade from Hard Rock and the Menominee Tribe. Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) received the news from Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch this morning.

In response to today’s announcement, Rep. Barca released the following statement:

“This is an economic mistake of colossal proportions. Thousands of people will stay on unemployment lines versus being employed and paying their taxes. These are jobs at no cost to taxpayers and it is absolutely heartbreaking to turn them away.

“As far as I can tell, this is the largest economic opportunity ever passed up by a governor in any state. Gov. Walker is turning down not only up to 10,000 good-paying jobs but also millions of new tourists and other significant economic development opportunities associated with this project – something that on a total bipartisan basis business leaders, local elected officials, community leaders and the citizens of Kenosha and Racine counties have recognized for years.

“Even though Wisconsin still lags behind our neighbors in job creation, the governor continues to show a complete lack of leadership and urgency on creating jobs, growing wages, closing the skills gap and making good on his economic promises to the people of Wisconsin. And instead of helping to make the Kenosha area a recreational destination point for the entire Midwest, we will now likely see these benefits go across the border to Illinois, where leaders recognize the positive economic impact of a project like this.

“I can’t help but wonder if the recent opposition of many Iowa conservative leaders played a role in the governor’s decision. If so, Gov. Walker has once again prioritized his own presidential ambitions over creating jobs and restoring economic opportunity in our state. The governor can no longer claim jobs and tourism are his top priorities, but perhaps pleasing Iowa conservatives are.

“The Menominee Indian Tribe showed a willingness to compromise and work together to make this project a reality. And an international developer with a proven track record signed on to help make this project a success. This project met every one of the Governor’s ridiculous criteria and yet he still turned it down.

“Given all the hard work put into this project, the strong investments made by key stakeholders and the overwhelming local support, the fact that Gov. Walker couldn’t bring people together and find a way to get to yes is a painful failure of leadership that hurts the hopes of thousands of citizens, many of whom had already filed their job applications.”

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7 thoughts on “Gov. Walker turns away thousands of good-paying jobs, millions of new tourists by rejecting Kenosha casino project”

  1. Tim says:

    Walker finally made a good call & Barca comes out of the woodwork as an opportunist. Gambling is a bad bet for local communities and our state. The local economy of Kenosha and far south and far eastern WI has been doing great lately.

    They needed a new casino like they need another dog track.

  2. Observer says:

    If his hands were tied because of “Jim Doyle”, wouldn’t they have been tied before the last election?
    Kenosha totals below
    Candidates Votes %
    S. Walker/Kleefisch 28482 50.3
    M. Burke/Lehman 27428 48.44

  3. Homer Jay says:

    Walker has three reasons for anything he does:
    1. To comply with his ALEC / billionaire puppet masters
    2. To further his political career
    3. To pander to the teabaggers

  4. David says:

    Casinos are not job creators within a community. They are a parasite and wealth extractor of epic proportions. While many can afford this type of entertainment, many people cannot and become addicted and the needed family funds are gambled away and leave the region. Similar to a Wal-Mart that extracts funds and moves fortunes to the Walton family in Arkansas.

    Real jobs in the production type sector are needed in Wisconsin. Similar to what Chrysler and GM once had in Kenosha and Janesville, and paper mills that have been permanently shuttered in the Fox Valley region.

    An optimum level of 1/3 production jobs to support a 2/3 service sector is needed for a well functioning economy. Large corporate service sector businesses are wealth extractors and a huge detriment to a community. Politicians and leaders seem to have forgotten this formula, otherwise a region eventually withers and dies off.

  5. Jack says:

    Think of all the revenue a casino in Kenosha would generate from the folks in Illinois traveling by high-speed rail from Chicago!

  6. Kary says:

    This state has far too many casinos as it is. I disagree with the Governor on 90% of issues but this was the correct call (for once).

  7. Observer says:

    “…thousands of good-paying jobs, millions of new tourists …” Talk about hyperbole! I think Barca needs to pick up the newspaper and read about casinos closing in Atlantic City, Tunica, Las Vegas, Iowa, and other locations across the U.S. It’s not a growth industry. Had that casino been allowed I would have expected job losses here in Milwaukee with the laid off workers not seeing that extra promised cash but which would have gone to the tribe. There is lots of cash that would have flowed to Florida. The Seminoles were in it for their return on investment. True too is that like it or not, the Poto casino is in Milwaukee and their employees spend their paychecks locally helping the Greater Milwaukee area.

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