There's an AP article in the New Bedford Standard Times today that basically asserts casinos are all things good and key to, I don't know, saving the Universe or something. Or at least the Hub of the Universe, Massachusetts, and its aging infrastructure.
House Minority Leader Brad Jones, R-North Reading, said Patrick has unveiled several big ticket items, including free community college, extended school year and commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River, without funding sources.
“In order to facilitate some of these, he needs new revenues,” said Jones, adding that he expects Patrick to support expanded gambling. “If he's going to come out and say no, then I have no basis as to why it's taking so long to say no.”
In addition to Patrick's announcement, the Legislature's Transportation Finance Commission is expected to report next week on its recommendations for closing a $15 billion to $19 billion dollar transportation funding gap over the next 20 years…. Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, co-chairman of the Transportation Committee, earlier raised the possibility of linking possible casino revenue to the closing of the transportation funding gap.
Dream on. At best, the state will receive approximately $100 million a year in revenue on casino profits – but it could receive as little as nothing, if the Wampanoags push hard enough. Certainly, that kind of money is nothing to sneeze at, but represents less than 1% of the total cost of the Big Dig. Oh, that'll fix the Massachusetts infrastructure all right. It wouldn't even put a dent into a New Bedford rail project, which would cost billions. But, in AP World, casino revenue isn't questioned. It's the only thing about a casino that's guaranteed.
What else will casino revenue cure in Massachusetts? Cancer? I vote we use all this money to build our very own space program, using a tiny sliver of the net revenue to go to Mars. Because that's where anyone's brain is at if they think casino revenue will fuel anything important in this state.