Believe me, there are highly placed Ohio Republicans who are backing Issue 6, the casino monopoly ballot issue. They just haven’t made themselves visible. In 2006, during the Ohio Learn and Earn Issue 3 campaign, the politicians who were doing the wheeling and dealing were front and center. Ohioans got to see the sausage being made right before our eyes, and it made us sick. We voted it down. Issue 3 had more Democrat support, as casinos were planned for Democrat strongholds, and Democrat politicians were instrumental in earmarking the potential tax revenues for education.
Now some corrupt Republicans have put their proposal on the table, but they are trying as best they can to remain invisible. They don’t want to allow the public to see the sausage while it’s being made. If they’re invisible, then why do I say that the latest proposal is chiefly a Republican plan? This casino monopoly is planned for the reddest, most Republican, sector of the state. Some of the most outspoken Republican backers of gambling come from that part of the state, like state rep Blessing. Furthermore, look at what’s proposed for the tax proceeds. As part of Republican principles, we often say that government resources ought to be allocated more heavily at the local level, and less heavily at the state and federal levels. But the pay-to-play General Assembly is so interested in getting re-elected that they are much more interested in legislation that puts dollars in their campaign war chests than they are about sticking to principles. The pay-to-play state legislature has not funded the mandates they’ve placed upon counties, and has slashed revenue sharing with local governments in order to cover their own rear ends (i.e. balancing the state’s budget). The proceeds from this casino monopoly are to be sent to the 88 counties to help cover up the fact that corrupt Republican legislators aren’t sticking to their principles about unfunded state mandates and empowering local governments to serve the people. Of course, another reason for these corrupt Republicans to hide from public view is that gambling is contrary to conservative principles, whether it be redistribution of wealth (but from poor to rich, in this case), maintaining law and order, shrinking the economy, or the damage gambling causes to families and society. By the way . . . the potshots I take against some prominent Republican state legislators should help readers understand why some have assigned me the moniker of RINO.
Readers may not trust me to elaborate on the Democrat case against Issue 6, since I’m a Republican, so let me defer to a hard-core Democrat blogger who has taken a whack at me from time to time. Tim Russo of Blogger Interrupted schools Joseph, another Democrat who blogs at Plunderbund, about why good Democrats should oppose Issue 6. Please pay attention. This is important. Here is part of his intro:
“Issue 6 is another example of the filthy rich attempting to buy a license to print their own money on the backs of the poorest Ohioans. That’s what a casino is. It’s not a business model, it’s not an industry, it is free money based on nothing but the desperation of poor people.”
When Joseph points out that the state’s economy sucks, and the casino backers want to invest millions in Clinton County, Tim Russo responds in this way:
“I want to tell these people that if they want to invest $600 million into Ohio, they can figure out a way to do so without being parasites on the poorest Ohioans. Gambling is a regressive tax on the poor, and those dollars are nothing more than a down payment on making Ohioans even poorer. Build a wind farm, dig for coal, make a high speed rail line, fund an internet startup. If it’s really a $600 million investment in Ohio, then make it an investment, not a Dickensian regressive tax.”
When Joseph asks if voters should tell Clinton County residents who are losing their DHL jobs that they shouldn’t have casino jobs, Tim Russo replied:
“Yes, I want to be the one to tell those people, and their representatives in government, to find other options, and advocate for jobs that are not a Dickensian sentence to a parasitic existence relying on taking money from poor people. These will not be good jobs. They will not be stable jobs. They will be low wage, low skill, low benefit, sweat shop scraps from the table of a developer who walks away with a fortune.”
When Joseph says we shouldn’t quibble over having to amend Ohio’s Constitution because it’s such a shoddy document in the first place, Tim Russo concedes the shoddy document part, but not the gambling part:
“The Ohio constitution is, in fact, a farce, which has become nothing more than an ATM for whoever has the most money to manipulate it for their own license to print money for themselves. That does not mean I need to accept it.”
Speaking of farces, Joseph wrote this:
“Ohio’s voters have proven, year after year, they aren’t ready to approve a broader gambling bill that brings gaming to the whole state. This single-casino option seems like a pretty good compromise.”
And Tim Russo very sagely (are you paying attention?) wrote this:
The reason Ohio’s voters don’t want a broader gambling bill is that Ohio’s voters don’t want our state to become a giant black hole in which poor people are consumed by parasites for eternity, like the seventh circle of Dante’s inferno. This isn’t Las Vegas, where there was nothing before gambling. This is Ohio, where desperate people cling to nickels and dimes in their pockets after decades of decay. A single casino is not a compromise, it is just the first step on the road to a state full of them.
I’ve added the bold type to emphasize what makes Joseph’s assertion so farcical to me.
Joseph said this casino could be used as a test case, and if the experiment doesn’t work, the experiment could be shut down. I feel the need to interject my own opinion at this point to say that there’s no shutting down a casino once it starts. The casino would be “grandfathered” in, and would be exempt from future bans on casinos, as we can’t write an ex post facto law that would retroactively ban the casino. The casino backers would thank us for such a ban, protecting them from further competition, and gold-plating their monopoly status. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea to treat this issue as a test case. We already know what casinos do, anyway.
These are just excerpts, so follow the links if you want the whole enchilada.
I hope you were paying attention.