Posted: 11/20/11 17:47
by Dave Mindeman
There is a persistent theme developing that mixes public policy with the public perception of jobs in every way possible.
The GOP has consistently linked tax increases to job losses. Convincing us that any higher tax to business will immediately result in job losses. This idea continues despite empirical evidence to the contrary. The current business admission has been that they are sitting on piles of cash which has not led to any changes in job creation.....and one would have to assume that more tax cutting would only increase the piles.
This jobs/policy mix has been adopted by others as well. After all, it does get attention in a job starved economy. The Tribal Gaming Lobby has figured this out....
Minnesota?s 18 Indian casinos employ more than 20,000 people, making it one of the largest industries in the state. But casino operators say expanding non-Indian gaming to help pay for a Minnesota Vikings stadium means casino job cuts of 30 percent. ?7,000 people could lose their jobs over this,? said John McCarthy, the head of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
The Tribal lobby has been effective with this approach. But there are several areas of argument that they leave out....
1) Tribal gaming has had racino and pull tab competition (in limited form) for quite some time. I don't think there is much evidence that these have had much direct impact on the ups and downs of their gambling revenue. What the expansion of these areas might do to tribal revenues is really an unknown, but to automatically assume it will be negative to the point of layoffs is a fair stretch. Especially when expansion would probably create new jobs to minimize that impact.
2) The whole idea behind gambling expansion is to increase state revenues without raising taxes. The Tribal gaming casinos pay no revenue to the state while the methods of gambling expansion will. And although it is granted that jobs in tribal gaming do pay income and sales taxes in regards to their societal integration, the gambling expansion jobs would do the same. It is just that expansion would have the added benefit of direct state revenue.
The larger issue here is that the Tribal Gaming community could make all of this a moot point. They really have the power to make all of this go away by voluntarily discussing a limited renegotiation of the gambling contract.
If the tribes want to maintain a monopoly, then the question becomes, "how much is it worth to them?"
If they would be willing to give a certain percentage of the proceeds directly to the state, then state investment in competition gambling might be negotiable as to scope and even existence.
When these original contracts were negotiated, the Tribes got very favorable terms. Those terms have been in place for decades. And the Tribes are certainly entitled to do what is necessary to keep their monopoly...including legal action. But wouldn't it be more beneficial to all concerned if the Tribes shared some of their state protected profits with the state....in return for additional assurances on that protection?
Before everybody spends significant dollars on lobbying to take sides on the issue, why doesn't everybody consider a solution that might benefit everybody......without a public policy fight?