Think casino gambling is going to save Massachusetts? Here’s how Lynn Doan begins her story in today’s Hartford Courant, the leading newspaper in Connecticut, home of two resort casinos:
With the state’s three-year budget deficit forecast hovering between $6 billion and $9 billion, Democrats are pushing a tax plan that economists warn will wipe out thousands of jobs both in old-line and emerging Connecticut industries.
The tax package unveiled by the state legislature’s Democratic majority earlier this month includes three main hits to business: a 30 percent surcharge on the corporate earnings tax; an end to sales tax exemptions on some key purchases such as computer services; and stricter limits on tax credits, including the lucrative research and development credits that keep many startup businesses afloat.
As both the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald report, expanded gambling is looking increasingly likely as Massachusetts officials scramble to make up for plunging tax revenues. Senate President Therese Murray is pushing for resort casinos, while House Speaker Robert DeLeo wants slot machines at race tracks.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s plan to build a casino in Middleborough quickly deteriorated into a tragicomedy of corruption and recriminations. But state officials, starting with Gov. Deval Patrick, think they know what’s best. So it’s likely that we’re going to end up with some form of expanded gambling.
Still, the facts are clear, for anyone who’s interested.