Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cost: Benefit Study Required

"We believe that once you examine the facts, the revenue and expenses, and give casino/slots a fair examination, they should be opposed because we simply can't afford to subsidize wealthy investors."

The elected officials of the Commonwealth have a solemn duty to perform due diligence on all matters that come before them. A comprehensive cost:benefit study of slots/casinos is required.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Senate "informational hearing" on expanded gambling

I attended the senate committee on economic development and emerging technologies today and had more than a few "twilight zone" moments.

Sen. Morrissy stated that we have a lottery that dedicates funds for costs of gambling addiction so with casinos we would have more funds right? Prof. Goodman replied. "Yes there would be more addiction." In fact, Dr. Goodman had just explained how addiction increases with promimity and all studies agree that proximity brings a multiplier effect of addiction. One gambling addict is projected to cost the tax payers over $13,200 per year in 1990's dollars. That's a heck of alot more than each of the children in the state got for public education.

The other bizzaro moment was when Senator Rosenberg tried to elict a number, a figure, how much dinero it would take to cover the cost of addiction?

There is no price for ruined lives.

Sen. Petrucelli could not sit still and came and left several times.

Sens. Spilka and Sen. Tucker were truly present and accounted for; their lights were on and the chair, Senator Spilka had some questions that were clearly from an individual working on digesting the information at hand.

The scariest part of the hearing was when the casino and financial consultants agreed with Professor Goodman that the state can no longer be the regulator when it becomes the biggest stakeholder/profiteer should they vote to expand gambling. "The state has to solve all the problems," said the corporate casino representative.

Be scared, this is scary.

So the state becomes the largest shareholder in promoting addictive behaviors. Sort of like the gambling pimp for the Commonwealth.

Gambling is not purely entertainment, it is a toxic sickness for thousands and we the people pay the price through our taxes and diminished quality of life.

Did I mention AG Coakley discussed that the NJ AG has 1,000 employees; 500 of which are employed to regulate the gambling industry? None of those costs were budgeted in any legislation to date.

Be scared, this is scary.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Go "D"

Go "D"

The sales tax increase is too much, the lack of common sense to keep it under the neighboring state's sales tax is incomprehensible. Gas tax discourages use of fossil fuel and dependence on foreign oil (yes, there is a connection to spending trillions of dollars on wars in the Middle East).

Imagine this lot supporting casino legislation when they can't figure out that they shouldn't be taking gifts to do their jobs! 50 years of waste and corruption in the billions and billions of dollars is what it took to begin to reform transportation in the Commonwealth. The Legislative Leadership (oxymoron) that has worked under the dome for years now realizes that pension reform is needed: VETO the proposed budget Mr. Governor, go "D".


Friday, June 19, 2009

“I pledged to veto the Legislature's proposed sales tax increase unless the Legislature first enacted meaningful reforms in the pension system, the transportation network, and our ethics and lobbying rules. In the last 10 days, the Legislature has passed and I have signed legislation eliminating long-standing pension abuses. They have also passed what, at first review, seems to be a good-faith effort at reforming our broken transportation system. I commend the House and Senate for their work on these reform measures.

“However, the fact that we have not been able to pass a strong ethics reform bill -- despite the clear need to restore the public's trust -- threatens all the progress we have made. For the Legislature to enact a 25% increase in the sales tax without first passing a strong ethics bill goes against the pledge that the Legislative leaders and I made, and that the public expects us to keep, to deliver all three reforms before new revenue.

“We know what to do. The House passed a solid ethics bill. The Senate's bill contains a good new idea regarding campaign finance. Legislative leaders should quickly agree to final ethics legislation that includes the strongest provisions from the House, the Senate and my original bill -- including a gift ban and campaign finance reform. Without that, I will veto the sales tax.”

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Divisiveness not Kumbaya

The traffic simulation in Palmer brought pro casino union supporters from across the state along with local supporters to counter the 75 vehicles that drove through Palmer in an approved casino traffic simulation. An estimated 9,000 to 12,500 vehicles are projected (weekday:weekend).

Who is going to pay for the additional students we need to educate? When will the legislature perform a comprehensive cost analysis on the proposed corporate casino impacts on the region and provide data driven proposals for mitigation? If as I suspect, casinos are not net profit to the state and taxpayers, why would there be any hesitancy by our elected officials to study the matter including true costs of mitigation?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Channel 22 wwlp Springfield is carrying information about opposition to slot gambling. Wow, refreshing to see a media outlet that may not be under the influence of corporate casino lobbyists and "power brokers". Check the video embedded above....makes you just wanna give the guy with the cigar a smooch.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Slots and Costs

Slots and Costs. Democrats vote to oppose slots and costs of expanded gambling, negative fiscal impacts on region.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Democrats resolve to oppose slots

Whereas the Democratic Party has a long and proud tradition of advocating for social justice, working for policies that promote the public health, and fighting to protect citizens from exploitive and predatory business practices;
And whereas modern slot machines use neuroscience-informed technology to mesmerize and entrap gamblers and to keep them playing until they have exhausted their resources ("playing to extinction");
And whereas medical research has documented the highly addictive nature of the brain's chemical reactions to slot machine stimulation;
And whereas licensing and promoting such addictive, predatory gambling technology for the purpose of raising State revenues goes against the aforementioned values and principles for which the Democratic Party has long stood, and is at odds with the ideals that underlie our Party's honorable and consistent struggle to end the deceptive and predatory lending, marketing, and pricing practices that have pushed so many families to the brink;
And whereas legalizing slot machines would erode participation in the Lottery and siphon away from local small businesses the discretionary spending on goods and services that they depend on;
And whereas the development of slot machine parlors would neither create significant new jobs, nor increase tourism in Massachusetts;
And whereas evidence from other states indicates that the long-term costs of gambling addiction -- increased substance abuse, increased crime, increased family discord and dysfunction -- outweigh the short term benefits of licenses and gambling revenues;
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Massachusetts Democratic Party, as a matter of both principle and policy, opposes the legalization of slot machines and any similar efforts to promote addictive and predatory gambling as a means of raising public revenues.