By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Chump change

The Weekly Dig shows that the money the government could collect from the proposed Middleborough casino — possibly as much as $100 million a year — is much ado about nothing.

No surprise there. But did you know that state taxes on alcohol already bring in nearly as much? Or that $100 million would not quite cover the annual interest charges on the Central Artery debt?

One more reason for Gov. Deval Patrick not to travel down this road.

My standard disclosure.


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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I guess I can’t wait to ask this question. Dan, why haven’t you posted about the Governor virtually ignoring the death of two Boston Firefighters? Forget the moral implications, the political ones are worse.http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/general/view.bg?articleid=1029013

  2. Larz

    Geez, Dan, for $100 million, I could probably be persuaded to teach the Comm. of Mass. how to be a concubine, as if it needs lessons. I still think there’s a big red blinking sign over this mess, reading, “Warning!! Potential Corruption!!”zzzzzzzzz

  3. Neil

    If Patrick comes out in favor of gambling for the sake of $100m/yr, then I presume he’ll also come out in favor of encouraging an increase in liquor consumption to bump up revenue from the tax on alcohol. Surely people could be drinking more, and where’s the harm.Had enough? Think again! Do your part to help our children out, by hoisting just another glass or two before driving home. So a few more people become alchoholics. Cost of doing business. We can use part of the extra revenue to fund treatment for these losers.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 6:02: I could easily compile a list of 5,000 things I haven’t posted on in the last few days. The death of the firefighters was a city tragedy, and Mayor Menino has been out front on this, although Gov. Patrick — appropriately — ordered the flag to be flown at half-staff.Anyway, I do consider “Why haven’t you posted on X?” questions to be pretty bogus. Now that the academic year has begun, I’ll be posting less on all kinds of things. Meanwhile, the Outraged Liberal has a take on the Herald and the governor that you might want to look at. I haven’t thought about it all that much, so do not confuse my link as an endorsement of his views. I’m just sayin’.

  5. Harry

    Certainly chump change, Dan, even if if was several times this amount. Not to mention that local casinos would inevitably cannibalize state lottery revenues to some degree.The alternative ways to fund Deval’s big plans would be to find “new revenue sources”, as he calls them, that are less regressive.What baffles me is that the Mass Dems control 100% of the statewide offices and 83% of the legislative seats, but seem frightened to death of behaving like “tax and spenders”. For Pete’s sake, many of them run for office unopposed. Exactly who or what are they scared of? I have trouble understanding it.

  6. Jim

    Well, it’s kind of a silly point. A hundred million is still a hundred million – ask a hundred small nonprofits scraping by if they could use $1 million from the state every year. And it’s “only 25 percent more” than the revenue from liquor taxes? Well, then, I guess we don’t need liquor taxes either, since that’s even less than chump change.A better argument would have been, it’s $100 mill a year, but the casino will COST the state X times $100 million for policing, new roads, lost scratch-ticket sales, extra cells at Bridgewater, food stamps for the families of the serious losers …The honest argument isn’t “it’s only chump change” or even “the spokesman lied on his resume.” It’s: Gambling is bad, casinos make it worse, and a state imprimatur on a casino would be abhorrent. Even if the revenue were $2 billion a year; even if the spokesman had squeaky-clean hands, a Medal of Honor, a Pulitzer and a Prius, this isn’t a business government should be hooked up with or a behavior government should encourage. Now, let’s talk Lottery …

  7. Peter Porcupine

    Jim – The state doesn’t oppose gambling – it just wants to guarantee its percentage of the vigorish. And I still contend they will go ahead, as they will get zip if the Tribe places the land in a trust with the Feds.Harry – what the legislators are afraid of is the actual views of their constituents, who came close to voting to abolish the income tax. They have no desire to disturb their somnolence with action which might upset them.

  8. Anonymous

    Yeah Dan I see your point but that link you sent me to actually bolsters my original comments. He shouldn’t have avoided the cameras to avoid the consternation of the Herald. He should have been there because it was the right thing to do. If that was Romney, on one of his never-ending trips to Iowa and Michigan two years ago, you would have posted about it and hammered him. Why? because you’re a partisan just like the editors at the Herald. As for your workload, cry me a river. You certainly have enough time to demagogue Casinos on a daily basis.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 11:47: It has nothing to do with my workload. It has to do with what interests me. In general, I couldn’t care less whether politicians show up for symbolic purposes, so I doubt I would have dumped on Romney, either.

  10. mike_b1

    Dan, this may not interest you, but the Sunday Globe included a map (page A21) showing various property tax bills across the state. The colors used were primarly greens.I realize that page designers are generally chosen because, among other things, they are better than the rest of us at using colors, etc. However, what they repeatedly fail to realize is that some 10% of the male population is at least partially color-blind, and as such the use of gradients, especially in the red-green portion of the spectrum, diminishes if not altogether negates the ability for readers to understand the graphs.This is just not a Globe problem: almost every magazine and paper makes the same mistake.Maybe you could instruct your students, some of whom will no doubt become editors some day, as to the same.

  11. Anonymous

    Re:PorcupineAny site that is not their intial reservation(that being Mashpee) forces them to compact with State.Everyone should get educated on tribal gaming before you spout off half truths.In order to get a licsense,they would have to cut a deal.A casino anywhere in Ma. would require a “deal”.Foxwoods and Mohegan were built on reservations,in turn the state of Conn. got zip.By the way the trust process will fail if the local public is against it,agreement or no agreement.Casino’s can be stopped up until the first coin drops in the devil’s machine.

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: Now, wait a minute … I looked at that map, and was pretty impressed with it. But I thought it was hard to differentiate the rich towns from the almost-rich towns, and I could have sworn that everything was gray. Could I be color-blind? Hmmm.

  13. Anonymous

    Jim-What’s silly is the notion that it’s an equal, or even worthwhile, tradeoff to flush the state down the toilet for $100 million, while the tribe’s financial backers rake in billions. That’s what this is about – who benefits, and who’s the rube?

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