Scott Bideau: Focus on the facts

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The proposed casino debate has focused on predictions of economic impact. I’d prefer to focus on the facts.

Fact 1: This casino will not be bound by state or local laws, just like any businesses on sovereign Native American land.

Fact 2: The casino will have no tax obligation. Reimbursement payments may be offered for specific services provided, but that’s a net-zero proposition. Our community spends money on services for which it is reimbursed. Should those reimbursement payments ever stop, we have virtually no authority to collect on them, although we’ll still be obligated to provide the services.

Fact 3: The casino will not be regulated by Equal Opportunity Employment laws. No legal obligation to hire locals. No regulation from discriminating on the basis of ethnicity, age or disability. Most Native American casinos formally publish an Indian hiring preference. Google “equal opportunity Native American casino” for countless examples. Those who say they’re “Equal Opportunity Employers” do so voluntarily, not by legal obligation. If hired, you will forfeit all federal and state employment rights.

If you support the casino based on the potential economic impact, you should first understand these facts. Don’t just listen to me or Sleeping Giant Group. Call the Governor’s office at 303-866-2471 and the Department of the Interior at 202-208-3100. These are the two agencies that will approve or disapprove the casino project. Get the facts and then write both of these agencies to share your opinion on the matter.

I fully support tribal economic development. But as Rob Douglas pointed out, that’s not what Sleeping Giant Group is promoting. As for me, I’d rather see our elected officials and entrepreneurs work on building businesses that create true value for the community and our work force, tribal owned or otherwise.

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