SOKAOGON CHIPPEWA COMMUNITY
Chairwoman Rachal denounces Governor McCallum's demand for $100,000,000 from Wisconsin's Indian Tribes to help solve the state's budget deficit
Sandra Rachal, Chairwoman of the Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Chippewa Community, today denounced Governor McCallum�s demands for an additional $100,000,000 more annually from Wisconsin�s Indian Tribes to help solve the State�s budget deficit.
Commenting on McCallum�s demands, Chairwoman Rachal said, �Apparently, Governor McCallum thinks all of Wisconsin�s Indian Tribes are wildly successful and floating in money. He is clearly out of touch with the reality of the deplorable economic conditions my Tribe endures when he says he wants more money from us. Perhaps his opinion might be different if he had ever
'Last spring, in a meeting which was the only personal contact I have ever had with Governor McCallum, which was attended by eight other Wisconsin Tribal leaders, Governor McCallum said he was not going to tie solving the State�s budget deficit to Indian gaming. I have not seen the word 'Indian' in any of his economic development proposals, either. He ignores us until he wants money we don't have to give.'
Chairwoman Rachal added, 'We are the poorest Tribe in the State of Wisconsin and it�s not getting any better. According to the 2000 United States Census, Wisconsin had a poverty rate of about 6%. In contrast, 40% of our people live in poverty and it�s getting worse as the economy gets worse. Our current compact payment represents almost 20% of our small casino�s net profit and he wants more? Governor McCallum wants to balance the State�s budget on the backs of some of the poorest people in Wisconsin.'
Chairwoman Rachal added, 'We can�t afford our current payment as it is. If we had to pay more, we would have to eliminate our contributions to local charities. Next, we would have to cut jobs and benefits for our workers, 62% of whom are non-Tribal members. We are the second-biggest employer in Forest County with 190 workers, offering health and dental insurance to our employees, but we have to ask them to pay 40% of the cost because we could not afford it otherwise.'
Chairwoman Rachal concluded, 'Overall, Tribes in Wisconsin directly employ more than 20,000 people, mostly in rural areas where decent year-round jobs, especially ones with benefits, are very hard to find. Throughout Wisconsin, Tribal employees pay millions in state and federal taxes and now Governor McCallum wants to effectively tax their jobs out of existence. I wonder why Governor McCallum wants to raise our taxes and no one else�s? It begs the question of whether we are exempt from Governor McCallum�s, 'I won't raise your taxes,' promises?'
The Sokaogon (Mole Lake) Chippewa Community Reservation is located on approximately 1,800 acres in Forest County, Wisconsin. The Tribe has 1,200 members.
For more information, please Wayne LaBine at (715) 478-7530.
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