Once More Into the (Canine) Budgetary Breach

Scanning ProJo headlines yesterday, Katherine Gregg’s article about Governor Carcieri’s recommendations (more about that in a moment) for the Twin River slot parlor, which include an end to greyhound racing, caught my eye. This morning, while clearing out files, in a happy coincidence, I came across the clipping below from the July 11, 2003 front page of the Providence Journal.
Reading Gregg’s article of yesterday more carefully this morning, it became apparent that this is one of the rare instances in which it is not altogether clear to me what the Governor is attempting to accomplish with regard to Twin Rivers.

Governor Carcieri is asking legislators to free the owners of the Twin River slot parlor from current employment and dog-racing requirements, cover more than $10 million of their marketing and management costs and provide them with an even more solid guarantee that state taxpayers will cover them if they lose money to a new competitor in Rhode Island.

Interviewed for the article, Carcieri spokesperson Amy Kempe elaborated

The fragile economic climate is exactly the reason to protect the state’s interests at Twin River. As the third-largest source of revenue, the state must protect that revenue. This legislation does not put the taxpayer at risk to protect Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, et al as you imply. That clause protects the third-largest source of revenue, which effectively protects the taxpayers.

Sure, I understand that the idea behind the fiscal safeguarding of Twin River’s operation is to preserve a non-tax (i.e., non-compulsory) revenue stream so that taxes don’t have to be raised. But if taxpayers are going to lose revenue under certain conditions, doesn’t that negate the preservation of the Twin River revenue stream to the monetary extent of the “slippage clause”?

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Providence Journal, July 11, 2003.
Original caption: “ON A LEASH: House Minority Leader Robert A. Watson opens his office to two retired greyhounds named “Tax” and “Spend” for the day, owned by Kathie and Chris Smith, of Warwick. Republicans want to end state subsidies to greyhound owners at Lincoln Park.”
Journal Photo by Kathy Borchers.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

It has been some time since I have had any association with a dog rack owner, and that was in MAssachusetts.
What I recall most distinctly was that the formula for taxation on pari-mutual wagering left them with almost nothing. For a significant profit, they relied on parking charges and the restaurant.
I wonder if the deal with “casinos” is better for the owners?

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