April 24, 2014

Ellis says Walker’s casino standard contradicts free market

Senator Mike Ellis

Senator Mike Ellis

Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah thinks Governor Walker is taking too strong of a stance on the proposed Kenosha casino. The Menominee Indian tribe wants to open one in southeastern Wisconsin, and the governor says all 11 tribes in the state need to sign off on it. The Forest County Potawatomi has a casino in Milwaukee, and its leaders oppose the proposal.

The Republican Senate president says the project shouldn’t hinge on the governor’s standard that all tribes need to support it. “If you applied the rationale that exists in this casino subject to the private sector, then the competition will always try to block competition.”

Ellis compared it to Menard’s wanting to move-in close to some similar stores. “Menard’s wouldn’t be able to build one, unless Walmart and Lowes and Fleet Farm approved it. It’s kind of a suppression of the free market — free enterprise — and I don’t understand why we’re having that kind of standard.”

Ellis says the Menominee tribe is the poorest one in the state and the casino would help generate revenue. He also says the casino would create about 3,000 new jobs in a part of the state with the highest unemployment rate. He says lawmakers were willing to work on a proposed mine in northern Wisconsin to help the economy there and they should treat the casino the same way in southeast Wisconsin.

The Forest County Potawatomi has a casino in Milwaukee and the tribe opposes plans to build a gaming facility in nearby Kenosha. Ellis says there are Walgreen’s and CVS pharmacies and various other competing businesses right across the street from each other in some parts of the state.

Mike Kemmeter, WHBY