Holy Cow. Is the Governor about to submit a budget that includes casino revenues? Right about now I'd like to point out that no casinos have yet been built in Massachusetts. Just as Enron banked projected profits for projects that didn't yet exist, our Gov. is considering including revenues from a Mirage.Then he goes on to point out that the projections on casino revenue, which has yet to be approved, are rather optimistic - even to the likes of the discredited (at least on this site), casino-supporting Clyde Barrow. Ouch. So, let's get this straight: the governor is including casino revenue in his budget, when this state has yet to legalize casinos - and they couldn't even bother reporting what the revenue really would be, if this state actually allows it to take place? We may as well throw all sorts of make-believe numbers in the budget and pretend we're fiscally sound. Whoopee!
It pains me to say this, but I'm starting to think I was duped by the Governor during the election. I hope I'm wrong, but so far the administration has lacked focus, vision and now, apparently, integrity. Governor Patrick is going to have to do a complete 180 and get back to the issues our state really needs to solve, like tackling health care affordability and helping our cities and towns maintain the nation's best school system, or even expand upon it. Casinos are just a gimmicky distraction to avoid the adult conversations our state must have if we want to continue to claim we're a Commonwealth. The Governor promised to be a helluva lot more than what he's become on the campaign trail. I'm still waiting to see it.
Update: Casey Ross has an article in the Herald about this whole thing. There's some relevant quotes.
“I think he has to put it in his budget,” said one lawmaker. “Otherwise, it looks like he’s giving up.”Please note that, during the hearing I went to in which Governor Patrick and a whole host of his aides spoke on this very topic, the administration said licensing fees shouldn't be spent on the general budget, because it's a one time fix. Apparently, to put added pressure on the legislature to pass casinos before the House and Senate have properly vetted it, the Governor is willing to forgo that sage advice. Using the licensing fees to help balance this state's budget is even worse than dipping into reserve funds, because at least there's more reserve funds - we won't run out of them after using them next year. If we counted on licensing fees that money would be gone in a year.
A move to include casino money would spark immediate controversy because it essentially forces the Legislature into a corner. If it doesn’t approve casinos, then it has to scramble to plug the resulting financial hole by cutting services, increasing taxes or dipping into reserve funds.