Opinion: Connecticut puts too much focus on a new tribal casino

New Year's Eve at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Photo from Facebook

Former U.S. Congressman Robert Steele and state Sen. Tony Hwang (R) accuse officials in Connecticut of rushing to help the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe deal with a gaming crisis while other businesses leave the state:
Despite strong evidence to the contrary, House and Senate leaders did their best to deny that the state's poor business climate, massive tax increases, yawning deficits and uncertain budgeting process influenced GE's decision to move its headquarters to Boston. They were unresponsive to GE's concerns. They did next to nothing to encourage the kind of full-court diplomatic and economic press Boston put on to snag the company and, in the end, expressed a sense of fatalism that it was simply impossible to stop GE from leaving given its desire to be in a higher-tech and urban environment.

That may or may not be true. But the extent to which Connecticut's political leadership lost touch with GE and didn't put up a more vigorous fight to keep it represents a monumental failure. GE is not just another corporation. It is one of the world's largest and most innovative companies, with leading positions in industries of the future, including alternative energy, medical equipment and transportation.

Contrast the legislative leadership's response to the GE situation with the way it has rushed to help Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun casino defend themselves against mounting competition and the loss of casino revenue and jobs. Legislative leaders have met repeatedly with the casinos' tribal owners to discuss their needs, ease regulation and coordinate strategy. They are strongly supporting the tribes' efforts to open a casino in the Hartford area to try to counter the MGM casino being built in Springfield.

Get the Story:
Robert Steele and Tony Hwang: Wrong Focus: Rushing To Help Casinos While Letting GE Walk (The Hartford Courant 1/21)

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