Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The budget shortfall

Courtesy of the Owatonna People's Press-

As the budget crisis in Minnesota has crested and is now in full flood stage, it is interesting to note that much like the federal government sitting on a significant source of revenue via drilling for oil in ANWR, Minnesota has spent a decade sitting on its own untapped source of revenue-casino gambling.

Sen Dick Day has been calling for a full casino at Canterbury Downs for a decade, which would have generated at least 100 million dollars each year for the last 10 years.

Governor Pawlenty tried to involve the Native American tribes in 2005 by offering an Indian run casino in the metro area that would also pay taxes to the state, likely adding 100 million to state coffers every year.

Both ideas have been shot down by the DFL. Both ideas would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the state budget. Both ideas would have collected tax revenue from people who voluntarily choose to gamble. Both ideas would have created hundreds if not thousands of new jobs.

As the DFL spins the outcome of the budget with stories of public libraries closing, police laid off and poor people dying for lack of medical coverage, please keep in mind that there were other options available for solving Minnesota's budget that didn't involve raising taxes.

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