Cal Politic

A weblog dedicated to California politics. A thriving democracy depends on an informed body politic.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Schwarzenegger's Indian Gaming Compact A Dud

New Compact Expands Gambling, Will Not Help Budget Crisis

Once again, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (GAS) is touting another compact that really isn't good for anybody. Yesterday, Schwarzenegger took a couple of hours out of the day (when he's supposed to be working on the budget) to hold a major press conference announcing his new Indian gaming compacts.

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly) the compacts are not a good deal for California. Basically, in exchange for a massive expansion of gambling, the state will get $100 million a year for transportation projects. This is well short of the $500 million Schwarzenegger said he would get, and it does absolutely nothing to fill the $14 billion hole in the state budget.

I can't believe I'm writing this, but perhaps Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee says it best.

In theory, the compacts would generate another $150 million a year for the state treasury, but that, too, is a relatively tiny sum when the state's general fund is running more than $75 billion and the deficit is $14 billion. Those funds, moreover, would materialize only as the tribes expand slot machine operations, which tribal officials say will depend on judgments about the gambling market. And the sum, whatever it may be, would be fixed - a per-machine fee, rather than a percentage of casino revenues - and thus would be diminished by inflation over time.

While the financial benefits to the state would be minimal - unless many more tribes agree to similar compacts - the tribes could gain a strengthened monopoly on casino gambling, what tribal attorney Howard Dickstein called "the promise of exclusivity." Schwarzenegger is pledging to vigorously oppose a measure on the November ballot, sponsored by non-Indian card rooms and horse racing tracks, that would allow them to operate lucrative slot machines, and also a measure sponsored by some tribes that would remove all limits on tribal slot machines.

At least Walters is calling out Schwarzenegger on yet another failed campaign promise. Maybe some more writers will grow some cajones as the budget debate boils over in the next week.

30 Comments:

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    Yeah, Walters is okay from time to time. He's jaundiced, dry, and cynical, but he's capable of the truth.

    This Indian compact is another failure that a non-Republican would be recalled or impeached for.

     
  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger Jack Conner said…

    Word is that more tribes are trying to jump in on the deal. Boy, Arnie really took these guys to the woodshed!

    I agree that Walters can be okay sometimes, but I've gotta say the guy is usually a snake. The thing that aggravates me about him is that he acts like he's non-partisan even though he's a hardcore conservative at heart.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Pacific John said…

    Yeah, he's sort of a more honest Robert Novak... but at least he's not a complete mediawhore like Daniel Weintraub.

     
  • At 4:57 PM, Blogger Joe Shaw said…

    Weintraub has taken press releases as the truth and prints them with no analysis or explanation of the organization behind the press release.

     
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