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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rollin' the dice

It's only appropriate the latest study on casino gambling in Massachusetts emerges during August, when thoughts of shark attacks and other scary things capture the attention of the public and a bored media.

But the details of the delayed report from Spectrum Gaming are less important than the fact it is now out there in the public domain -- after the Legislature has seemingly adjourned for the year. And that's because Massachusetts taxpayers are about to experience some scary moments on the budget front.

Just about every seasoned Beacon Hill observer expects problems with the fiscal 2009 budget put in place before lawmakers adjourn. Many question how well it is balanced. All expect major upheaval if the federal government does not renew the Medicaid waiver that has financed a huge chunk of health care reform.

Then there's the matter of Question 1, which would repeal the state's income tax.

I expect the real significance of this report to surface during the fall -- when that question is being debated. After all, polls show a majority of Massachusetts residents like the idea of casinos, but also think the state is headed on the wrong track.

What better way to turn things around, some may reason, than repeal the income tax and make up for some of the lost revenue through casinos?

Similarly, casino opponents generally cringe at the thought of income tax repeal as much as they hate the idea of casinos. Put the two together and perhaps you strengthen their efforts to work against the ballot initiative?

I'm not going to say the Patrick administration exhibited brilliant political timing here. This report, like the plan to reduce the use of highway flaggers, is just another example of a team that has a hard time meeting deadlines.

But sometime, that can work in your favor.

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

The only poll that matters is one that asks people if they'd like a casino in their community. Two-thirds wouldn't.

August 08, 2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

All I'm saying is casino revenue and income tax repeal will make a volatile mix this fall!

When you see the number of people who now make lowering gasoline taxes their No. 1 priority from a presidential candidate, the combination of a tax repeal and a seemingly alternate revenue source -- no matter how accurate the projections -- the possibilities for political mischief are endless.

August 08, 2008 3:10 PM  

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