Friday, January 30, 2009

Illigitimi non carborundum. Democracy by fatigue. It is time to tax casino gambling initiatives.

The Saturday morning Dispatch greets us with the headline “A casino proposal emerges yet again.”

The Dispatch reports that Penn National Gaming, an opponent of the Clinton County casino ballot proposal last November is now talking up a new gambling proposal that it supports.

And to make life even more tedious for Ohio voters,, the casino proponent that lost in the November election, says it will continue with another gambling proposal for the 2009 ballot.

The Dispatch reports that Penn National Gaming spent $36 million to defeat the 2008 Clinton County proposal.

My wife groans at the headline and I shake my head. I call the members of the WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM editorial collective. They’ve read the same story in the Dispatch.

Even without actual casinos in Ohio, the gambling industry has a limitless supply of cash to spend on Ohio ballot politics.

Pari-mutuel wagering at county fairs

Bexley Public Radio and WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM are not reflexive opponents of gambling.

In fact, the WCRX-LP editorial collective supports strong pari-mutuel wagering at Ohio county fairs. Pari-mutuel wagering is a nonprofit form of gambling appropriate to an agricultural industry. Horse breeding is entirely about excellence and the risks needed to achieve it. Pari-mutuel betting at county-fairs promotes that form of agricultural achievement.

But the casino gambling industry is not about horse breeding. Casinos are not an agricultural industry.

Casinos are about relentless odds that always take money from gamblers. The grind of the casino industry creates an endless supply of cash and the industry is using that cash to wear Ohio voters down with ballot proposals.

Recent history of gambling ballot proposals in Ohio
At some point, casino proponents will wear us down. The gambling industry can come back to the Ohio ballot ceaselessly until it prevails. Look at the recent history of gambling proposals Ohio.

1990 Lorain casino

1996 Riverboat gambling

2006 Slot machines at horse race tracks

2008 Clinton County casino

That is a ballot issue on the same topic every fifty-four months. And the time between the industry proposals is shortening. It looks like the next proposal will be made only twelve months after the last ballot issue.

The gambling industry seems to be using the ballot to experiment and figure out what it thinks Ohio voters will eventually accept. Each initiative tinkers with a casino proposal a little bit. The industry’s hope is that at some point a proposal will be made that the voters find acceptable.

Democracy by fatigue

But that is not what is really happening. The casino proponents are really just wearing down their opponents and Ohio voters.

This is democracy by fatigue. Ohio voters have to accept the relentless pressure of these gambling proposals. We have to learn the details, the tedious details, of the gambling industry proposals and form opinions about their worthiness. And then Ohio voters have to actually show up at the polls and cast their vote.

Taxing casino ballot proposals

How can some fairness be brought to the situation?

The solution is obvious to the WCRX-LP editorial collective. The Ohio electorate should extract something from the gambling industry to balance the bother of the industry’s repeated gambling proposals.

What the WCRX-LP editorial collective proposes is that a state tax be imposed on the sponsors of any ballot proposal when voters have voted on the same subject during the prior twenty-five years.

The tax should be equal to the amount of money spent by the proponents of the last ballot issue on the same subject.

What does “same subject” mean? That doesn’t matter to the editorial collective.

The editorial collective is satisfied if the Ohio Secretary of State and the casino industry go to court to decide what a "same subject" is. Just tax this industry for ignoring the obvious and consistent mood of Ohio voters.

Bexley Public Radio Foundation broadcasting as
WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM, Local Power Radio
2700 E. Main St., Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

Bexley Public Radio Foundation is exempt from federal taxes under IRC Section 501(c)(3). Donations are deductible from federal income taxes for individuals who itemize. Checks may identify the payee as Bexley Public Radio Foundation WCRX-LP, 102.1 FM.

Design is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation. Text is copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Bexley Public Radio Foundation.


WCRX-LP Editorial collective said...

WCRX-LP note: This is text from an email message, reposted as a blog comment.

Mr. Terry writes:

Tax someone else because you don't like it? People have a right to go to the ballot. The past casino efforts failed because of poor design and I am glad each failed. However trying to tax someone to prevent them from putting something up to the people to decide on is wrong. If a properly designed casino issue comes together that supports the horse industry, our schools and our tax base we should all be in favor of it. I'm tired of seeing Ohio money going to WV, IN, MI, PA and Canada (yes all bordering neighbors) plus NY, DE, NJ, MA, NH, CT, RI, ME, IL, LA and many more. We have not passed a gambling issue because it has not been the right one. I hope the right one comes along soon or your county fair racing along with the horse industry will be a piece of history and not enjoyed today.

Phil Terry
Delaware, OH

WCRX-LP Editorial collective said...

Mr. Terry:

Good points.

The tax proposal is for the second ballot attempt, third ballot attempt and so on. Not the first ballot attempt. The first ballot attempt is NOT taxed.

Kurt Weiland
Bexley Public Radio
2700 E Main St Suite 208
Columbus, OH 43209
Voice (614) 235 2929
Fax (614) 235 3008

WCRX-LP Editorial collective said...

Mr. Terry has given his permission for his mailing address to be added to this post.

Mr. Phil Terry
236 Pennsylvania Ave.
Delaware, OH 43015