LPO Tuesday Talk: General Assembly Continues Gambling with Ohioans Time and Money

Posted on June 15, 2010 by

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June 15, 2010

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Last Friday the Ohio legislature missed another Constitutional deadline.  Unlike the deadline they missed in 2009, however, this one was by hours and not months.  In 2009, the deadline that was missed was for our state budget.  Our elected officials missed that deadline because they couldn’t get the budget to balance, as is required by law.  Friday’s lapse was on rules for casino gambling.

You may ask what was so controversial that this obvious deadline couldn’t be missed, even with 8 months notice.  Two key provisions, one that made it into law and the other that didn’t, were primarily to blame for this dereliction of duty by the General Assembly.  First, not making it into the law, there was a proposal to require percentages of various minorities to be employed at the casinos.  Yes, that’s right.  Some of Ohio’s elected officials feel that some people are too incompetent to earn and hold jobs on their own, and therefore wanted to simply assign those jobs based on the color of a person’s skin.  The Libertarian Party believes that every person should be provided an equal opportunity to prove their value to an employer, and that separate and unequal hiring practices where employees are judged based upon their race or country of origin are damaging to our society.  We applaud those legislators that held out for fairness and equality and look forward to the day when elected Libertarians can increase equality in the law to provide every citizen of Ohio with an equal opportunity in life.

The second provision, the one that made it into law, demonstrates just how much contempt the General Assembly has for Ohioans and the budgetary process.  This provision allows for Ohioans to deduct gambling losses from their income tax returns.  While many Ohioans logically assumed that government spending would increase to combat the negative effects of gambling, very few assumed that the state of Ohio would immediately start transferring millions of dollars from the state treasury into the bank account of Penn National Gaming and Dan Gilbert.  By allowing a deduction for gambling losses, Ohioans will be more likely to wager more money at casinos, of which only 85% is required to be paid out.  The tax on the remaining 15% was set in the Constitutional Amendment (written by Penn National) at a paltry 33%, in effect meaning that casinos will pocket 10% of the money wagered.  By encouraging Ohioans to gamble more, then reimbursing taxpayers for their losses, the Ohio General Assembly will be giving away millions of dollars to an out-of-state gambling company that wrote itself a monopoly into our Constitution for the purpose of preying on the weakest among us.  These millions of dollars in additional gifts to the casino industry will only further cripple the state of Ohio as we attempt to deal with a planned $8 billion shortfall in the next budget.

This brings us back to the main point, which is that this General Assembly can’t keep a deadline.  With a looming fiscal crisis clouding our state’s future, this legislature is preparing to take a 5 month vacation to tell you what a wonderful job they’ve done of running Ohio the past two years.  Thousands of jobs lost.  Billions of dollars of “one-time” federal stimulus money wasted and no improvements to our crumbling infrastructure to show for it.  An education system that has been “repaired” to the point of bankruptcy with exceptions for every new unaffordable “requirement”.  And not even the slightest hint of trying to deal with the budget.

Not only is Ted Strickland a failed Governor by his own measure of education reform, but every member of the General Assembly is complicit in this failure and deserves to be replaced.  There are Libertarians running for office in every corner of the state.  Libertarians who will take their oath to uphold the Constitution and its basic requirements of office very seriously.  Libertarians who will not give away millions of dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money to out-of-state gambling interests.  Libertarians who will uphold the American values of freedom and equality by treating all people equal, not separately.

In Liberty,

Michael Johnston
Vice-Chair, Executive Committee
Libertarian Party of Ohio
Candidate, Ohio House 19th District
The Libertarian Party of Ohio was founded in 1972 as a response to the increasing encroachment on the freedoms and liberties of American citizens by our government. The LPO favors a fiscally responsible, socially tolerant government that maximizes freedom and personal choice and responsibility while ensuring the provision of required basic public services. The Libertarian Party of Ohio can accept contributions from individuals, businesses, and other incorporated entities online at https://www.lpo.org/make-contribution.html or by mailing a contribution to:
Libertarian Party of Ohio
Attn: Treasurer
2586 Tiller Ln, Ste 2K
Columbus, OH 43231-2265

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