Like I said, when it comes to handling state deficits, all options are legitimate — except, apparently, raising taxes.
And so we come to Massachusetts, where lawmakers have been working for years to bring casino resorts to the state.
Now, lobbyists are stepping up with their wallets in hand to ensure a deal is done.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, and Governor Duval Patrick are all in favor of gambling expansion. Why? Revenue, of course.
They could care less about you or me. On the other hand, if it all leads to the establishment of casino resorts in that great state, I could care less what their motivation is.
In 2010, over $3 million was spent lobbying for expanded gambling. While it is an extravagant number, spending that type of money has become commonplace in states where gambling expansion is coveted.
The House Speaker wants not only casino resorts, but also at racetracks in the state. That has caused a rift with the governor, who does not want slots at the tracks.
Governor Patrick was briefly willing to compromise late last year, but when the House and Senate sent him a bill allowing slots at several tracks, Patrick immediately vetoed the legislation.
A large majority of the lobbying money in 2010 came from Sterling Suffolk Racecourse. The company owns Suffolk Downs, and spent $850,000 pushing lawmakers to authorize slots. The lobbyists are using the usual tactics to bring casinos to Massachusetts.
Suffolk Downs lobbyists claim that adding casino resort gambling will bring thousands of jobs to the state.
In addition, Massachusetts would receive millions of dollars in annual tax revenue from the gaming. The state has been looking for ways to bring new jobs to the communities where unemployment has grown over the past couple of years.
I’ll keep an eye out for you.