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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ka-ching! (redux)

Deval Patrick is about to find out that you should be careful what you wish for.

After struggling for a year before ultimately losing a battle with then-Speaker Sal DiMasi over casinos, Patrick and current Speaker Robert DeLeo have a fundamental problem with the latest iteration of a gambling proposal: racinos.

DeLeo, who has Suffolk Downs in his district and two idle dog tracks in the state, is for the idea of putting slot machines into horse and dog tracks. Patrick says no, preferring destination casinos.

Given the current state of the commonwealth's finances and the sour relationship between the governor and lawmakers, guess who will win?

And that will put Patrick in the awkward position of opposing a variation on a theme he originally introduced, not to mention rejecting what DeLeo envisions as a quick $200 million for a fiscal 2011 budget that is already bleeding badly.

Senate President Therese Murray holds the ultimate cards here (sorry) with the ability to broker a deal. But what ought to be more interesting is how gubernatorial challengers Charlie Baker, Tim Cahill and Christy Mihos line up on the issue.

Do they opt for the cash? Weigh into the argument that already divides Patrick's base and reject the bill? Or sit on the sidelines and watch with silent glee as the Beacon Hill leadership engages in another round of open warfare?

Stay tuned for another fun-filled year on Beacon Hill.

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