Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why We Can't Lose Faith in Deval

No one on the blogosphere is more disappointed about the Governor's plan to support not one, not two, but three casinos in Massachusetts, than I am. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but it was still disappointing. Furthermore, I'm not surprised at the reaction being displayed across the entire Bay State blogosphere: I haven't read one liberal or progressive blogger yet who thinks Deval's decision is the right decision, including from his most dedicated supporters. However, there was something I mentioned yesterday on my LeftAhead! podcast - and it's important to remember.

Deval Patrick may have made a poor choice, but the vision and reasons behind that choice were right. Our state desperately needs new revenues, both to fix its roads and solve this property tax/health care/public education crisis. While casinos certainly won't accomplish either on their own, they could bring in hundreds of millions over several years (though, I doubt it). Whatever the casinos bring in will be a pittance compared to our entire state budget - and certainly not worth both the social and economic costs - but nothing to sneeze at, either. Furthermore, because Speaker DiMasi has been completely resistant to both Deval's corporate loophole cuts as well as allowing towns the opportunity to have a modest meals tax, the Governor truly has been boxed into a wall.

I don't really blame the Governor for coming out with this decision. Casinos are an enticing, easy fix. Deval certainly knows that - and tried to create a very reasonable plan to compensate for it. However, there's no way this state can truly control casino operations. It's like trying to control the Earth's orbit. More than three will be built; it's just a matter of time. Either a future Governor will be elected and not be as particular as our current Governor, or one of the tribes in this state will take the time to go through the federal process - which would be a lot easier if we already had three operating casinos. Luckily, we have a democratic process in place to make sure that Deval Patrick's plan does not go through - stopping it at the legislative level. But, it's also important to remember that we're even more lucky to have a Governor who's heart - if not mind, in this case - is in the right place.


joe said...

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Anonymous said...

Buried in one of the studies about the infrastructure is the estimated cost savings (100 million) of switching from having the cops sit on the side of road construction to having civilian flagmen. Bet that won't get much play time with the power of the cops unions and the Democrats kowtowing to them.

Ryan Adams said...


That's kind of random, but I'd certainly support most construction projects having trained flagmen, instead of cops.

Anonymous said...

Next time a liberal blogger asks how someone can cling so stubbornly to a politician, rationalizing anything and everything out of personal loyalty, I'm going to direct him/her to this post.

Anonymous said...

DO we need new revenue?

Patrick has called to spend approx. $10 billion dollars over 10 years on roads and bridges.

This year's budget was average - about $22 billion. Over 10 years, that's about $220 billion, and that is a low figure as revenues will probably go up.

So we are talking about less than 5% of our state budget. Do you really think there isn't at LEAST 5% of fat in the budget as it stands?

Deval wants casinos because he knows he cannot control the Legislature - and THEY are the ones who decide how money gets spent.

Do you really want to give them even more?

Anonymous said...

Just a random old 100 million.
But watch it won't get done.

William Bennett said...

There is something disturbing, however, about Patrick's sense of money and proportion. I was as annoyed by the Globe's fixation on drapes as anyone, and I shouted down my friends who complained about his house. The casino business is completely out of whack, though. And why isn't Patrick releasing any of the documents, analysis, meeting minutes -- whatever he based his decision on? It smells of sulfur and Cheney. And why isn't he spending his vacation talking with DiMasi about rationalizing Massachusetts' revenue stream instead of talking with casino interests?

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