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."