State Treasurer Timothy Cahill plans to propose today that the state sell the rights to as many as three slot parlors across Massachusetts, a push far less ambitious than Governor Deval Patrick's bill for three casino resorts last year but one that Cahill will argue is the quickest way to boost state coffers.Cahill says his plan would bring the state $244 million, to which I respond, so would raising the income tax by a small fraction of a percent. The kicker is the fact that it won't bring in $244 million, because slot parlors are merely a redistribution of the local economy and state lottery funds -- the very state lottery which Cahill has run to the ground. Why have people spending money at their local pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs and bowling allies, when up to 75% of that could be going to slot parlors, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston? Cahill's really got the interests of the people at his heart.
Furthermore, even assuming Cahill's numbers are accurate (they're not), what's $244 million? Does that balance our budget? Not even close. It invites a world of problems and starts the government addiction, which would be fed more down the road - through more parlors, real casinos, expanded gambling and reduced taxes on the industry.
Cahill's ties to the slot industry are well known and deep. He's taken in way too much in gambling lobby dollars - and he's run the state lottery to the ground. Hell, his slot parlor plan is merely an attempt to bail out the multi millionaires at the race tracks - who won't even allow the state to provide free retraining and employment services, because that would hurt the 'poor track worker' meme. His parlor "plan" is overly generous to boot - other states around the country tax these sorts of things at double the rate he'd plan. In other words, Cahill knows who his friends are -- and they're not the average, every day citizens of Massachusetts.
If this at all sounds a bit harsh - I apologize. I'm just sick of having this guy be our State Treasurer and continue his obsession with stale, insider ideas that not only don't solve any of our problems, but would only serve to create new ones, that cost more money to even think about solving. Don't we have enough problems already? Can't we use reasonable and fair methods of generating revenue to deal with those problems?