Folks are wondering why State Senator Russell Pearce has decided to intervene in the proposed Tohono O'odam casino in Glendale. Some argue that he is trying to show that he can deal with issues other than immigration in order to bolster his chances at achieving the Senate Presidency. Some argue that it's a state's rights play.
I think he's just pissed off.
Last week I pointed out this deceptive piece from the "No on 302" folks. The piece is funded by liberal groups who normally complain that the legislature is too conservative and doesn't "invest" enough in children's programs. However, instead of playing it straight, the group decided to chastise the legislature for not CUTTING enough funding. So we have been treated to the bizarre spectacle of Eddie Basha quoting the Goldwater Institute in order to guilt the legislature into cutting programs. This will, of course, backfire because the legislature is likely to take Basha's advice. Basha has now lost the high ground because his own mailer has defined the defeat of Prop 302 as a call for deep cuts.
But that's only one reason why Legislators like Pearce are ticked off. Look who else sponsored the mailer...that's right, the tribes. If you are new to the legislative process, you may ask yourself what the Tohono O'odam's opposition to Prop 302 has to do with the Tohono O'odam casino in Glendale? The answer is that it has everything to do with it. Everything in the Legisature is connected. That means that if the Legislature creates Prop 302 in order to avoid steep cuts in services and the Tohono O'odam use Indian Gaming money to kill that Proposition, then the Legislature is likely to go after the Tohono O'dam's casino.
Seriously, did you not even watch one episode of the Sopranos?
Prop 302 is likely to fail. So the legislature is going to have a $400 million hole in its budget. Naturally, they will use the cover that Eddie and Nadine Basha have provided and cut as much as they can out of the budget.
But they will still need revenue...and they sure as heck aren't going to raise taxes. So they are out of borrowing capacity, and they can't have the First Things First money because their first proposal was shot down by the Tribes. So what's left?
Well, Indian Gaming is left. Of course they can't take the money from the tribes...but they can COMPETE with the tribes. Who said the Tribes had to have a monopoly on Gaming? In fact, putting slot machines at the tracks--the "Racino" proposal--raises about $400 million.
That mailer? It just got A LOT more expensive. Thanks Eddie.