Before the casino could be built, it needed to be approved by Scott Walker.
Walker promised that he would make a decision quickly, but repeatedly pushed back his self-imposed deadlines as he tried to milk campaign donations from both the pro-casino and anti-casino factions and tried to figure which way would be the most politically advantageous for him.
Unsurprisingly, one of the opponents to the new casino, the Potawatomi tribe, got tired of Walker's shakedowns and decided to flex their own muscle by withholding a payment of $25 million to the state. Needless to say, this is already causing havoc with Walker's already out of whack budget:
As tensions rise over a proposed Indian casino in Kenosha that would compete with the Forest County Potawatomi tribe's Milwaukee gaming operation, the Potawatomi are refusing to pay their casino fee of at least $25 million to the state.Faced with a budget crisis of his own making by putting bad politics before good policy, Walker did what comes naturally to him - blame someone else.
In a letter to lawmakers Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker said that the payment was due June 30 and that its absence is having an impact on the state's two-year budget, which has only limited reserves.
This time, he falls back to his old foil, Governor Jim Doyle:
Compact agreements negotiated by Gov. Jim Doyle's administration include clauses to reimburse some tribes for losses resulting from a new tribal competitor, payments that could equal tens of millions of dollars to the Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk tribes. Those two tribes combined contributed $700,000 in soft money to the Democratic National Committee days before Doyle was elected in 2002.In summary, Walker tries to play the two sides of the proposed casino against each other in order to maximize the odds of political gain for himself. But he pushed his luck too far and made a bad bet on how things would work out. And because of Walker's gambling problem, the taxpayers could be on the hook for tens - if not hundreds - of thousands of dollars.
"At least one of the tribal governments (the Potawatomi) appears to believe that they could recover about $100 million from the state — plus millions more through the process spelled out in the compacts and through the withholding of compact payments. This has already had a negative impact on the current budget and could very well create a program for future budgets worth hundreds of millions of dollars," Walker wrote to lawmakers.
I'm not a gambling man, but I do know a joker when I see one. We need to get rid of Walker before we come up going broke.