Cross-posted from CFO blog
Dan O’Connell(Secretary of Housing and Economic Development) and Don Widmer(President of the Mass. Taxpayers Foundation) appeared on Newsnight with Jim Braude to discuss the revenue that might come if Governor Patrick’s casino legislation is passed.
O’Connell admitted that Patrick had based his revenue numbers largely on casino industry estimates.
So which one is right? I’d be inclined to go with the MTF report. Whichever number you pick, remember that nobody has yet tried to project what the costs will be for an increase in compulsive gambling. We can argue how much cost there will be, but the fact that there will be costs cannot be disputed. These costs include1
- Crime (apprehension, adjudication, incarceration and police costs),
- Business and employment costs (lost productivity on the job, lost employment time, other costs to firms),
- Bankruptcy (lawsuits and legal costs, bill collection costs),
- Illness (costs associated with depression, stress-related illness, anxiety, cognitive distortions, cardio-vascular disorders, chronic or severe headaches among others),
- Social service costs (treatment/therapy costs, welfare, food stamps, costs associated with unemployment),
- Government direct regulatory costs,
- Family costs (costs associated with divorce, separation, spousal abuse, child neglect),
- Abused dollars (resources acquired from family, friends, employers under false pretenses).
Mr. Patrick, crowing about the fact your plan gives x-million dollars for treatment, mitigation, or prevention means nothing without an honest estimate of the costs. Failure to inform the public about the potential costs means either that you haven’t done your homework, or that you are intentionally misleading us.
And let’s be honest about the fact that no matther how much money goes toward treatment, and revenue we gain, there will be a cost in human misery for a good number of our fellow citizens.
If we’re going to make a deal with the devil, let’s make sure we’ve all read the contract.