Monday, February 4, 2008

Mass Restaurant Association Opposes Casinos

From the MRA website

On The Record In Opposition To Casinos

Here at the MRA we are constantly evaluating our legislative positions according to what would have the biggest impact on your business. That is why you are going to hear quite a bit from us on the topic of casinos this year. Our opposition is not based on a theoretical principle. It’s a tangible threat; resort-style casinos would hurt sales, regardless of location.Stopping this popular proposal is no small challenge seeing that the casino developers and/or racetrack owners have already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbyists last year alone. They will spend even more this year, but the legitimacy and respect that is garnered by an organization like ours cannot be bought. This is why Peter Christie was the only gaming opponent who was asked to testify at a 7-hour invitation-only hearing on casinos at the State House last month. This is evidence that our perspective has more legitimacy than the less effective emotional, moral, or social opposition. The issue will be forced to the forefront during the spring budget deliberations. The Legislature will have to reconcile a $1 billion budget deficit for next year. Governor Patrick may propose that the Commonwealth use revenue from casino licenses as a way to fill the budget gap. We are in the process of sending letters to every legislator urging them against any fiscal “quick fix” that could jeopardize reliable revenue that is collected from the sales tax on meals. This strategy could also be viewed as a way of compelling the House and Senate to take up the controversial proposal sooner rather than later. Armed with the collective strength of our membership, we are optimistic about our chances for overcoming this obstacle (as we have done so many times in the past). It will require endurance, continuous reinforcement of our position, and the involvement of our membership. But we would not do it if we didn’t think it was the most critical issue for your business.

In a related article in the Republican newspaper, Rudi R. Scherff owner of the venerable Student Prince Restaurant in Springfield was quoted in opposition to the proposal.

But Rudi R. Scherff, owner of the Student Prince and Fort Restaurant, a mainstay in downtown Springfield, said the economic benefits cited by Sarno and others are dead wrong. "Over time, they would develop their own high-end restaurants and open more hotels and golf courses," Scherff said. "In time, Springfield would be a ghost town."

Friday, February 1, 2008

Truth to Math

It's a wonder to see such optimistic projections about job development with casinos. The glossy presentations touting 20,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs are compelling. Who wouldn't want economic development that has no downside like traffic, pollution, domestic violence, bankruptcy, corruption and burdens on local taxpayers, public school systems and infrastructure?

Mohegan representatives in their recent presentation (that cited no references in the handout) to the Palmer Citizen Committee reported projected development of "more than 1,500 construction jobs and approximately 3,000 new full-time jobs".

Wait a minute....

1,500 X 3 sites = 4,500 construction jobs....NOT 30,000.

3,000 full-time jobs X 3 sites = 9,000 jobs....NOT 20,000.

Here's the math.
Assuming conservativetax revenue at 300,000,000 which is the figure guaranteed in the bill and 800,000,000 in ten year license fees.

300,000,000 operational revenue (27% tax)
-124,000,000 lottery shortfall (which will increase with casino opening)

176,000,000 balance
- 80,000,000 Gaming Commission/year

96,000,000 balance
-300,000,000 The real costs for regional mitigation (4X what is allotted)

(204,000,000) DEFICIT

AGO, State Police, bankruptcies, district courts, DA's, etc. are additional expenses not accounted in the casino bill. Education impacts for migrant/new worker families in three regions (unknown, not considered or researched in the casino /proposals).

The loss after the first year will be (~204,000,000) not including additional mandatory educational funds. The funds to cover the losses will either come from the license fees (gone in three years) or be sucked from local budgets and existing programs. How will the losses be covered in years 5 and beyond?

Will the offset of income taxes from low/moderate income wages impact the fiscal picture? Not hardly.

When will the MSM report the real costs that the average Massachusetts citizen will bear if casinos are legal in MA????