Tuesday, January 29, 2008

California gambling is a racket

Sam takes a turn at the editorial side and enjoys his role as libertarian polemicist.

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Better slots than more tax increases

California gambling is a racket, and Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 are another round in the never-ending battle over who gets the spoils.

These propositions extend four Indian tribes the right to install about 20,000 more slot machines in San Diego-area casinos, in addition to the 60,000 that already exist statewide. In return, the tribes would kick back part of the loot — excuse us, pay a proportion of the revenue — to the state's General Fund. California would get under $200 million in the next few years, but "in the low to mid hundreds of millions of dollars" annually approaching 2030, according to the state's legislative analyst.

Supporters and opponents of the propositions are special interest groups who have picked sides depending on how big a piece they got of the pie, or how much they think they will lose.

In favor: 30 Indian tribes and California public officials.

Opposed: Labor unions, teacher unions, and Nevada casinos.

Our bottom line: revenue from a racket is better than raising taxes. Yes on Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97.

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