Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Casino Proposal Leaves Gaping Holes

Finally, the Globe started to ask some serious questions about Governor Patrick's casino proposal. Chief among them was a discrepancy in the bill Patrick filed versus the promises he made in his initial announcement, though the Patrick Administration attributes the discrepancy to an error in filing. Yet, even then, plenty of questions remain. Here's the pertinent info from the Globe.
The bill as it was introduced in the Legislature on Thursday, however, uses a drastically different formula. It directs that the trust funds would each get 2.5 percent of the casinos' "operating license payments" made to the state. Operating license payments to the state are expected to be 27 percent of the gross revenue. Using that formula, state officials would have only $13.5 million available for mitigation and $13.5 million for public health programs.

Even if the bill is corrected to funnel the full $100 million to the mitigation and public health funds, a debate is simmering as to whether that would be enough to cover all the promises the governor made, especially his pledge to ensure that cities and towns do not lose money when their share of state lottery revenue is diminished because of casino competition.

Treasurer Cahill's office says that the State Lottery will see an initial 4% decline in lottery revenue if casinos are built - which means there's going to be a serious dent in the money being sent to cities and towns. Much of the state's lottery funds go to municipalities, while casino taxes wouldn't. Readers will note I suggested Patrick's proposal will lead to less money going to cities and towns, not more, about a week ago. Given Cahill's words on the matter, knowing how entrenched he is in the pro-casino camp, anyone care to disagree?

At the end of the article, Representative Dan Bosely sums up the truth about casinos in Massachusetts.

Bosley said the state's take of gambling revenue will be inadequate to pay for most of the programs and services the governor says he wants to fund.

"They're short in all of the accounts," he said. "There is not anywhere near enough for the lottery. There isn't enough for public infrastructure, mitigation, or all sorts of social ills. The only thing they don't require in this bill is for the casinos to give away a puppy when people leave. It's pie in the sky, and they're not going to do this."

1 comment:

Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan - remember when I posted about Rep. Jones' press release about the casino plan they were being asked to comment on - that was a blank piece of paper? I said Deval was just asking legislators to commit to something that he could change any way he wanted, but would never be on record for. Remember the BMG'ers who said - No! That's a Trial Balloon! We LOVE trial balloons!

NOW do you see why it's all bogus UNTIL LEGISLATION IS FILED?

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