Kenosha- Gov. Scott Walker is being accused of putting politics ahead of jobs and economic development by lawmakers who represent the Kenosha and Racine area.  They say he’s delaying a decision on the Kenosha casino proposal in order to not negatively affect his reelection bid.

There is a February deadline to either approve or deny the Menominee Nation’s proposal to build a $800 million gaming complex in Kenosha, Walker has said that he will not weigh in on the matter until an independent study on gaming is brought to him, but lawmakers want him to make a decision now.

Walker said to the Kenosha News that he “wants to make sure his decision doesn’t violate the state’s compact with Native American tribes”.

“Several of those compacts have provisions that, if a new casino is built in Kenosha, they would blow up parts of that compact and potentially could put a major hole in the state’s budget,” Walker said.

In a meeting with Kenosha News editors and reporters this week, state Rep. Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha, Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, and Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers, said the idea that a Kenosha casino would create a budget shortfall is wrong.

“The governor gave us campaign rhetoric instead of logic,” Wirch said. “He said we’re worried about punching a hole in the budget for next year. If he would have signed off on the casino, we would have had hundreds of construction workers paying taxes into the budget.”

A stake is a Menominee Nation pledge to pay $200 million to the state over five years if its casino proposal is approved.

“It’s hard to imagine there wouldn’t be a net plus on the budget rather than a negative,” Barca said. “(Walker) can assure that it is a net positive for the budget.”