No Casino Referendum for Rhode Island. Place Your Bets on One for Mass.

You may recall where Rhode Island’s had left off: the General Assembly had passed a referendum specific to Lincoln and Newport which the Gov had then vetoed, citing its excess of site specificity and its dearth of fiscal detail.

While I strongly support voter referenda, and have spoken in favor of questions being put to the citizens of Rhode Island on issues of expanding gaming, I cannot support such initiatives when critical financial information is unknown and the normal referenda process is altered without good reason. …
Leaving the question of splits to future determination is a deeply flawed strategy because the very grant of gaming authority to a private party, before determining the financial arrangement with the state, eviscerates the negotiating power of the state.

This week, Turn to Ten brought us the latest.

House spokesman Larry Berman said Tuesday the House doesn’t plan to return this summer for an override.

Meanwhile, next door, Gov Patrick’s veto had rendered uncertain at best the prospect of a casino referendum for the consideration of Mass voters. However, the situation has been complicated by Congress’ passage of the $26 billion Local Public Employee Appreciation Act (which President Obama signed in the fervent hope that it would dim the memory in certain minds of the attempt by his Education Secretary to raise the achievement level of the country’s worst schools). Getting those funds flowing to Massachusetts will require official action by the state, thereby raising the odds that the legislature will reconvene in time to either override Patrick’s veto or pass a casino bill more to his liking. This is far from a cert, however; the action may come down to the wire (i.e., the deadline to print ballots) because, until this latest development, the Senate President seemed disinclined to reconvene anytime soon. Now it remains to be seen whether election-year avarice will overcome inertia in the final sprint.

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