- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Rendell, gambling, and the politics of fear - Part Deux
And so we’re back here again:
Harrisburg is losing patience. Rendell yesterday said that he was "disappointed" that the city's two casinos are not open. Rendell added that he would have to "weigh very heavily" any legislation proposed to strip Philadelphia of gaming-tax benefits.
Or in case you didn’t hear him clearly enough:
Even though the casino industry has tanked globally (mostly because people need to spend their money on food and small things like that), it never hurts to repeat a threat that reminds us that gambling has never been about the best interests of the citizens of the City.
Who can blame him because a bankrupt economy has apparently given way to a bankruptcy of ideas about how to fix it. And there’s little worse than the fast and easy cash of a gamble – especially when you ignore costs like these:
- Associated Press reports one million problem gamblers in New York, some as young as 12;
- New Jersey adds its 1,000th name to the list of most serious compulsive gamblers, the ones who voluntarily name themselves for a "do not gamble" prohibition.
- An Albuquerque Journal report finds people withdrawing welfare money from the ATMs conveniently placed on casino floors
- Foxwoods and CT casinos add ½ and ¼ cent slot machines to attract those real high end gamblers
And for the record, those are just a sampling of news stories that have appeared just in the past month.
So what if Philly doesn’t get its share of the gambling money if the trade-off is that we don’t get slots barns on our waterfront and in the heart of our City? The accountants in City Hall will have a fit with the ledger books, but other than that, could we be better off?
Because even the limited stats we have seem to indicate that we would. Case in point:
The Gaming Control Board last week announced that gross revenue at six casinos across the state grew by 14 percent in February, compared with February 2008. A seventh casino, opened last month, was not included in those calculations.
Harrah's Chester saw revenue decline by 1.89 percent last month, compared with February 2008. Philadelphia Park in Bensalem saw revenue climb by 6.45 percent in the same period.
So if the areas around Philly are stagnating relative to the rest of the state, what are we gaining by saturating the market even more with this losers' enterprise?
Wouldn’t it be better for City Planners to spend their hours and staff resources on serious planning and investment in sustainable development for Philly’s future rather than shilling for the casino industry? Wouldn’t it be better to know that a central transit line isn’t Ground Zero for exposure to a predatory industry like slots and gambling? Wouldn’t it be better to re-vive two local treasures like the waterfront and Market East with development responsive to and reflective of a new economy rather than the old?