Bailing out Delaware casinos wrong move

June 21, 2013

An article in the June 18 News Journal stated  "that higher personal income tax collections helped produce an extra $21.3 million for lawmakers to budget in the coming year, and Governor Jack Markell proposed using $8 million of that to bail out Delaware’s three casinos struggling with regional competition."

I do not understand how a governor who would not support struggling families by publicly threatening to veto the Senate Minimum Wage Bill until it was amended to (a) get a cost-of-living provision struck from the bill, (b) get the effective date for the bill pushed back, and (c) lower the amount of the minimum wage to $7.75 an hour in 2014 and $8.25 in 2015 can support giving $8 million to for-profit businesses.

If casinos in this state cannot make a profit due to competition from nearby states then they had better find a business model that lets them make money or close up shop. Any one-time effort funded with taxpayer money will not solve problems with competition. Rather it will let them hold on for a little longer before they change or go under. According to "Secretary of Finance Tom Cook .... the $8 million in casino funds will go to offset expected increases in their vendor costs."

If our casinos have vendor cost increases is it not logical to assume that their competition in other states do as well? Or do the casinos in other states have better procurement staff? Or maybe the increased vendor costs are that the State of Delaware negotiated too big a piece of the pie for itself.

I also do not understand why helping for-profit business should be part of a bond bill. Unless I do not understand Delaware funding, bond bills are paid back over several years with interest. The support Gov. Markell is proposing is a current year expense and has no business being part of a bond bill which is for capital items that provide long term benefits.

Further, if for some reason this bill should ever make it through the House and Senate how can it be justified to just give this money to for-profit businesses. If they need the money that bad they should pay it back over time or give the state an equity interest in their businesses. Taxpayers should get something back for their bailout.

These funds come from personal income tax payments and would be much better served by being used to support the poor, elderly, undereducated and uninsured people of our state.

Governor please reexamine your priorities and get back on a liberal and progressive track.

Thomas O'Hagan

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