On Sunday the Dispatch ran a piece titled Casino deal a win for almost everyone, completely forgetting that they had called a much better deal “a rip off” just two years earlier.
The deal in question, proposed by John Kasich, allows racetrack owners to place VLTs (slots) at their tracks in exchange for a $50 million license fee and 33.5 percent tax on revenue.
The fee and tax rate of Kasich’s deal are MUCH lower than the deal proposed by Strickland back in 2009 of a $65 million license fee and a 50 percent tax on revenue. Clearly the track owners are the big winner under Kasich’s deal – and the state is a huge loser.
The REALLY screwed up thing here is that the Dispatch seems to have had a surprising change of heart since 2009 when they attacked Strickland for his proposal.
Two summers ago the Dispatch ran a number of articles in which Governor Strickland’s $65 Million/50 percent proposal was questioned by Republicans (like Senate President Bill Harris) who claimed it was too small and that he was “leaving money on the table.”
They even ran an editorial on July 26, 2009 ripping Ted for the “terrible bargain” Ohio’s taxpayers were getting:
Strickland, who until a month ago was a steadfast opponent of expanded gambling, did this in such a rush that he made a terrible bargain for Ohio taxpayers.
If Ohio is to be exposed to the increased addiction and indebtedness that expanded gambling typically brings, the state at least should be getting the lion’s share of the profits. Licenses to operate slot machines, which will make billions for their holders, should have been auctioned to raise the most possible revenue. One study indicated they could be worth $150 million apiece. Instead, Strickland is selling them for a bargain $65 million each to seven horse-racetrack operators.
The state plans to split gambling proceeds 50-50 with racetrack owners, but why should the taxpayers give up half? Why not pay gambling companies a fee to operate slot machines and keep a far larger share of the profit for the state?
So two years ago the Dispatch editorial board thought Ted Strickland’s $65 million/50% proposal was a bargain for the tracks and a rip off for Ohio’s taxpayers. And yesterday, when Kasich introduced his $50 Million/33% proposal, suddenly this is a big win for Ohio?
Could you guys maybe try to PRETEND that you aren’t a bunch of biased Kasich groupies for just one week?