A book-closing on transportation revenues for the summer would neatly lift the curtain on a casino or slot machines vote, or casino and slots vote, in the fall, and few nose-counters in either branch expect the Legislature will once more resist the dollar signs and neon lights.If a self-reported "progressive" votes for casinos out of transportation concerns, people should strongly consider whether they're really progressives. That borders on what I always hoped was a mythical "hack/progressive alliance" that Howie Carr loves to write about. Paying for transportation off the backs of gambling addicts and the poor, as well as our state's entire small business infrastructure, is neither an adult nor a reality-based political philosophy. It won't generate revenue for our state -- through small business, state lottery losses, increased social costs and decreased economic participating among the 5% of problem gamblers that exist in states with slots, it's almost guaranteed we'll lose revenue over the long haul.
“We’re going to have gaming,” Murray said. “It won’t be soon. It’ll probably be later rather than sooner.”
Part of the math on the gambling vote is geometric. While the Turnpike’s entanglements have surged to the fore, attention to the T’s fiscal problems, which are actually deeper, has waned. Dangling mass transit funding in front of gambling-averse liberals, who adore the social and environmental benefits of mass transit, seems a pretty effective way of picking up votes for legislative leaders pushing casinos or slots.
If legislators want to help out the MBTA - and goodness knows the MBTA needs help - they need to be responsible adults and pay for it in non-gimmicky ways. The obvious payment method should be money coming from the gas tax, but almost anything is more responsible and better for the state than using the MBTA as an excuse to create casinos or slots in Massachusetts.