Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Get Out the Popcorn

This looks like a great event:
I'm inviting you to a debate on the issue on Thursday October 15 from 7:00 – 9:00 at Century Bank, 400 Mystic Avenue in Medford. The forum will feature speakers representing both sides of the gambling debate.

Senator Sue Tucker represents the City of Lawrence and the towns of Andover, Dracut, and Tewksbury. In 1996, Sen. Tucker organized a statewide coalition against casinos in Massachusetts. Now she is working with business, political, and the religious communities to build a diverse coalition to defeat any proposal for expansion.

Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein represents Revere, Chelsea and Saugus. She has long been a proponent of expanded gaming, believing that it is an economic growth opportunity not only in her native region, but also throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Senator Tucker and Representative Reinstein will present arguments for and against casinos and other forms of expanded gambling in Massachusetts. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions and to express their own opinions. Light refreshments will be served.

Please come -- and invite your friends for an exciting and stimulating conversation on a topic that will affect us all.

Century Bank on Mystic Avenue is easily accessible from Somerville and Medford. From Winchester and Woburn, take exit 30 off Route 93.

Kudos to Senator Jehlan for trying to make sure her district has the opportunity to become fully informed on this issue. If we could take this kind of open spirit and commission a major study on all the costs and benefits of slots in Massachusetts, I'd finally be able to stop beating this drum I only wish were finally dead.


Anonymous said...

Bring on the casinos. Keep the moral do gooders out of my life. If I want to fucking gamble anay my money I will do just that. Now I get to do it in MA instead of CT. Good for the Commonwealth. Sure is better than a tax on services. What a fuckin stupid fuckin idea. Tell Judy M that she can pay the tax. Stuuuuupid!!!

Ryan said...

Why do some people always assume this issue comes down to morality?

There's plenty of gambling options in this state that I'm not against. For me, casinos are only partially a moral argument. Simply put, they're just bad policy -- they won't even create enough tax dollars to offset the losses we'd see to the state lottery and local businesses. If it's bad policy, it's bad policy. Our state is hurting enough without bringing on more pain.

Middleboro Remembers said...

Good response, Ryan!

This should be a good discussion worth the time to attend.

The liquor tax, sales tax and cigarette tax were all raised and MA residents who live close to NH flood across the border, including 1 state rep. foolish enough to use a vehicle with state plates.

Is there a cry in the legislature to establish tax free zones, let's just say in Lowell and Lawrence to re-capture those lost sales? It's more simply accomplished than a casino which requires some major policy changes.

We have friends who travel to NH for major purchases.

Does anyone hear Ca Ching Murray commenting on that volume of lost revenue?

MA residents go to T.F.Green airport for flights.

Ca Ching! Ca Ching!

Regrettably, the previous anonymous poster isn't addressing those issues, but rather attacking without the facts.

I'm not sure any of us has raised only moral issues regarding gambling, but rather many economic issues.

Maybe he'll bring his extensive vocabulary to the forum and ask a few questions.

Anonymous said...

How about a tax on services? Let's tax everything.

Ryan said...

"Let's tax everything."

You can make it seem like Massachusetts has an extraordinary level of taxation, but the fact of the matter is we come in somewhere around 35-40 out of all 50 states in terms of level of state taxation. The spin doesn't match the reality.

Anonymous said...

bull on the taxes. we are at #1 in terms of patronage ans waste. where is marian walsh these days?

Ryan said...

Anon, that's your belief, with no facts to back it up. Unfortunately, "waste and abuse" exists in all private and public enterprises, but is only about 1-3% of the total Mass budget, according to an interview I did with Michael Widmer, head of the (fairly conservative) Massachusetts Tax Foundation http://www.leftahead.com/?p=207

I think we always have to be vigilant on waste and abuse, but we have to make sure that we don't let it become the boogie man. The boogie man may terrify little kids and keep them from falling asleep, but it doesn't exist. Let's not let make-believe waste get in the way of good governing or the adoption of good policy.

Anonymous said...

widmer is not close to being a conservative

Ryan said...

Especially in Massachusetts, he's at least a little right of center, at least in the field he works in.

Even ignoring that, though, he's certainly an expert on the subject and he thinks "waste" in Massachusetts is around 1-3%. Have any actual facts to counter it? I'm all ears/eyes.

Anonymous said...

3% of $30 billion is about $1billion. That's a lot of cash my liberal friend.Widmer is a liberal by my standards.

Ryan said...

Certainly, it's a lot of cash. But Massachusetts is a very, very large enterprise. Fact of the matter is 3% is a fairly reasonable number that we should strive to always improve upon, but not get so fixated on it that we miss the forest for the trees.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you would apply that 3% figure to the amount spent on the Big Dig, or was that an anomaly. Now that it's over I'm hearing anecdotal evidence from friends of friends that make my hairs stand up.

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