Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Casino Tax Breaks

The Administration's proposed Gulf Coast rebuilding plan includes tax breaks for the casino industry. After writing a letter dated 22 September 2004 to President Bush in protest of such tax breaks, and after getting 64 other members of Congress to join him in another letter dated 12 October 2005 to the President, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) has spoken on the House floor to decry the plan. Mr. Wolf pointed out that "giving tax breaks to massage parlors, casinos, liquor stores and golf courses while we cut Federal programs for the less fortunate cannot be explained to the American people. Congress must be sure these tax benefits of the gulf rebuilding package do not go to massage parlors, casinos, liquor stores, and golf courses."


While the casinos would likely enrich the gaming industry and its supporting entourage of real estate brokers, lawyers and accountants, the one thing the casinos will NOT do is facilitate the orderly and efficient rebuilding of the community (whether in a social sense or an infrastructure sense). Casino gambling in Atlantic City was sold to the people of New Jersey on the premise that casinos would reverse the decline of Atlantic City. They did, but not very efficiently, and at great cost in other trade-offs. The block by the Boardwalk was quickly rebuilt, but many of the interior blocks remained in ruins or vacant for over 20 years. And even after the casinos came in, the Atlantic City infrastructure such as its hospital and the utilities did not commensurately improve.

Query: What are the chances in, say, the next 50 years, that a major hurricane will hit Atlantic City during a Labor Day Weekend? And if that happens, how will people be able to evacuate Absecon Island for the mainland?

Maybe I'm waxing nostalgic, but I prefer the REAL Atlantic City, before the casinos came.

Universities, high-tech industrial parks and military installations are more efficient nurturers of communities than casinos. Because Universities, high-tech industrial parks, military installations and even ordinary manufacturing plants produce goods and services that are beneficial to society, while gambling is little more than the creation of risk for its own sake, with no net benefit inuring to the community.

On Long Island, the Shinnecock Indians want to build a casino. I empathize with them. Fishing is no longer a viable industry for them (or almost anyone else on Long Island), and the loopholes that enable them to sell tax-free cigarettes are closing. But casinos will bring additional problems to Long Island. I question the wisdom of having Long Island casinos. And I question the wisdom of the Government's policies that are now effectively redefining the Native American culture as one of gambling and cigarettes.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home