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Gov. Scott Walker owes the residents of Racine and Kenosha counties and the Menominee Tribe the real reason he rejected the proposed $800 million Kenosha casino, thousands of jobs and the $1 billion headed for the state treasury.

The governor can say that potential financial losses are just too great a risk for a new casino, but his words ring too hollow.

In the last couple of weeks the Menominee and the Hard Rock group have taken steps to insulate the state – and taxpayers – from any financial liability if the Potawatomi lose money at their Milwaukee casino. Specifically, the Tribe has agreed to make payments to the state for the Potawatomi if they can’t and to take out a $250 million bond for extra protection in the case the Potawatomi sue the Bureau of Indian Affairs and win.

The casino was approved by the federal government in 2013 and the BIA earlier this month rejected a proposed amendment to the compact between the state and the Potawatomi that would have left the state holding the bag for any financial losses at that tribe’s Milwaukee casino.

The compact signed by the Menominee and the Walker Administration on Jan. 20 makes clear that state taxpayers – and the Potawatomi – would be fully protected, according to a story in The Journal Times.

Racine County Eye wants to know the real reason Walker rejected the casino because his concerns about state taxpayers holding the money bag were mitigated not only by the compact the governor agreed to but by the offer of a $250 million bond the day before the governor announced his rejection.

We suspect Walker rejected the casino because not only does he have a personal objection to gambling but also because of the threat from influential Republicans in Iowa – as detailed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – to derail his presidential ambitions if he approved the project.

Messages to Walker’s press office asking for more than his talking points have thus far gone unreturned, but we are not going to easily let this go.

There are too many residents who need the jobs that would have been created both directly and indirectly by the casino, and we find unacceptable the governor’s inability to be honest with citizens about his real reasons for rejecting the casino.

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