Letter: State could hit the jackpot
Thursday, May 10, 2012
When I read, in the May 3 Columbian story, “Gregoire: State needs new revenue,” that Gov. Chris Gregoire said that her successor will need to find new revenues, all I could do was shake my head. Simply because there has been three separate pieces of legislation put before the Washington State Legislature that would directly address the state budgetary shortfalls: House bills 2044 and 2786 and Senate Bill 5918. These bills called for the legalization of slot machines/scratch ticket machines in the more than 60 cardrooms in the state. However, Gregoire has stated that even if these bills passed through the Legislature, she would veto them.
Here is a breakdown of the potential revenues Gregoire and the Legislature turned their noses up at: 2011-2013: $189,367,345; 2013-2015: $856,831,447; 2015-2017: $860,005,694, totaling $1,906,204,486. That is almost $2 billion that our state politicians turned down.
While allowing cardrooms to have slots would not be the “magic bullet” that would solve all the shortfalls, it would go a long way to easing the pain. The state Legislature and governor’s office need to do everything to keep as much gaming revenues as possible in the state, as opposed to going to the neighboring states that provide easier access to slots and video poker.