I remember being very impressed when then-candidate Patrick offered articulate and principled opposition to casino gambling in light of the profound social harms he knew were associated with the euphemistically termed “gaming industry.” Now, in the interest of generating revenue for the state, he is backing a proposal for state sponsorship of the very social harms of which he warned in the form of three state licensed casinos. Yes, his proposal calls for state issued band aids. But the planning for band aids only confirms that he appreciates the harm his casino proposal will cause.
Patrick got it right when he argued during the campaign that rather than debating whether we should raise or lower taxes, we should first consider what we want to do and then discuss how to pay for it. In that spirit those of us who were with him from the beginning are saying that it is time to talk.
Listen to the words the Amherst Democratic Town Committee — the party leaders in a town that supported Patrick more strongly than any other in the Commonwealth in the hotly contested Democratic primary, and again in the general election:
Amherst Democratic Town Committee
October 18, 2007
WHEREAS the platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party commits the party to “tax equity and responsible budgeting,” “special support for small businesses and agriculture,” “sustainable development practices to foster economic stability for both urban and rural cities and towns,” and the provision of “a sustainable revenue source to finance state government that support a healthy economy;”
WHEREAS casino gambling would not promote tax equity, responsible budgeting, sustainable development practices, or a sustainable revenue source, and likely would damage small businesses and agriculture in Western Massachusetts;
WHEREAS the Governor’s proposal for casinos in Massachusetts represents a missed opportunity to advocate for a more equitable tax system; and
WHEREAS the League of Women Voters Massachusetts and Representative Ellen Story have been consistent and forthright in their advocacy for more equitable taxation and their opposition to casino gambling;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The Amherst Democratic Town Committee supports the League of Women Voters Massachusetts and Representative Story in their opposition to casino gambling in Massachusetts and in their commitment to a more equitable system of taxation for residents of the Commonwealth.
Motion made by Leo Maley.
Motion seconded by Diana Stein.
Motion, as amended, passed by a vote of 13 to 2 with 0 abstentions.
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Here is the press release that is being vigorously emailed around the state:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Meeting on October 18, 2007, members of the Amherst Democratic Town Committee (ADTC) voted to support the League of Women Voters Massachusetts and local State Representative Ellen Story in their opposition to casino gambling in Massachusetts.
The ADTC resolution states that Governor Deval Patrick’s casino gambling proposal “would not promote tax equity, responsible budgeting, sustainable development practices, or a sustainable revenue source, and likely would damage small businesses and agriculture in Western Massachusetts.”
The resolution also stated that the Governor’s casino proposal “represents a missed opportunity to advocate for a more equitable tax system” in Massachusetts.
ADTC member Leo Maley brought the resolution to the Committee. Following an hour-long discussion, the resolution passed by a vote of 13 to 2.
“It was a lively and informative discussion. Committee members came to the meeting well-informed on the subject. Most members had read the very informative materials prepared by the League of Women Voters Massachusetts concerning the economic and social effects of casino gambling,” Maley noted.
“It is great to see this level of knowledge and passion concerning such an important issue at the grass roots of the Democratic party.”
“Many Committee members expressed their disappointment in Governor Patrick,” Maley noted. “Only one Committee member expressed support for Governor Deval Patrick’s casino proposal. Most Committee members were passionately opposed to the Governor’s plan,” Maley noted.
Maley, a community and political organizer, notes that he strongly supported Deval Patrick in last year’s Democratic primary and general elections and that many ADTC members had campaigned hard for Patrick.
“Amherst voted 84 percent for Deval Patrick in a three-way Democratic primary and again by 84 percent in the general election,” Maley noted. “ADTC members helped lead the effort for Deval Patrick in Western Massachusetts.”
Maley noted that “The Governor has done many wonderful things since he’s been in office. I continue to support him. However, it is unfortunate to see the Governor so out of step with his core supporters on this very important issue.”
Maley can be reached for comment by phone at 413-262-0630 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[Crossposted from FrederickClarkson.com]