< .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Safe bet

The only safe bet in the escalating battle of numbers and words between Deval Patrick and Sal DiMasi is that won't be enjoying a social evening any time soon. Particularly in a casino.

The House Speaker has offered his most direct slap at the governor's casino plan -- rightfully questioning the apparent gap in projected construction jobs as offered by Patrick and a recent Globe story based on the type of analysis the governor did not do before unveiling his plan.

That discrepancy follows a similiar one over projected revenues that could be generated by three casinos. It points out yet again the sloppy staff work that went into what has become -- rightly or wrongly -- the centerpiece of the Patrick Administration.

Yet, for all the negativity emanating from the House side -- from both DiMasi and Economic Development and Emerging Technologies House Chair Dan Bosley -- it's significant that Patrick still has breathing room in the lower chamber.

The Globe's informal survey of lawmakers found undecideds and nays tied at 40 votes with yeas trailing but not fatally, at 27. Of course, 41 members didn't respond and five new members will be taking their seats in the coming weeks and that's where the balance of power will lie.

Yet you would think that with DiMasi and Bosley clearly leading the opposition, the margin would be wider. Part of that might be that DiMasi is indeed holding to his promise to let members make up their own minds.

But another factor may be the simple reality that Massachusetts, like the rest of the states, is facing some significant budget pain as a result of the faltering national economy. How else to explain the position of a DiMasi loyalist like Joseph Wagner of Chicopee?

"If the economic benefits outweigh the economic and social costs, I might be inclined to support it. But that case hasn't been made yet to my satisfaction."

With hearings scheduled later this month, the pressure is on Patrick to come up with some real numbers that reflect independent analysis and not the rosy scenarios of casino backers.

But the pressure is also on DiMasi and Bosley to provide clear and compelling evidence of the bad effects of casinos and broader gambling options.

That's probably the only sure bet these days.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home