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House OKs Casino Proposal; Tax Hikes Fail

The debate lasted an hour and a half.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives OK'd a casino proposal by 65 to 8 tonight, according to the Providence Journal. It did not approve either of the amendments proposed.

The bill was introduced by House Finance Committee Chairman Helio Melo, D-East Providence.

Democrats in leadership positions pushed against a state tax rate increase should the voters in November approve full casinos at Twin River and . Rep. Brian Newberry, R-North Smithfield, who is House Minority Leader, wanted to see a 2 percent increase of the state's share of the casino revenues.

State Rep. Charlene Lima, D-Cranston, wanted to see an even larger hike of 8 percent, according to the Providence Journal.

Supporters of the amendments, such as East Greenwich's state Rep. Robert Watson, said the leadership-inspired bill did not adequately address the needs of the state. 

Those opposed to the increase said the state has to consider the viability of the businesses and whether the tax increase would simply be too much.

House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello, D-Cranston, called the proposed increases "unsustainable" and a "disservice" to Rhode Island taxpayers in the long run.

William F Horan October 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM
RI GA Sen Paiva Weed Newport flip flopped & now is promoting an expansion of Casino gambling! sen-paivaweed@rilin.state.ri.us Classic bait and switch - she was against it before she was for it! Today here on Aquidneck Island we know how much money is siphoned off from the economy and the misery this creates. Yes, yet another form of economic terrorism. The justification offered is losses of excessive jobs to other locations are questioned! Why have we not seen this topic discussed in aol patch or challenged in The NDN? We need to reject this bad apple that continues to return to our ballot. Yes, vote against any and all casino gambling expansions .Yes, we Need to vote against any and all in the RI General Assembly (that now support this recently repeated attempted assault on our communities.). This will finally starve the beast of bloated big government in overreach. Even more tainted money is not a recipe for a solution to the RI economic misery. This money is a fuel for fraud, malfeasance and corruption must be limited and even reduced and accordingly drive this ship of fools out of office. Our communities and the state can then return to a wholesome environment and repair the damage done by these self serving pols. We must no longer fund our government and its excesses on the backs of the poor suspended in misery. The price is much too high and destroys the social fabric of our society. How many times must we vote and say no?
Living in Newport November 01, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Our community has plenty of good reasons to vote against casino expansion. Here are a few: Financial projections for ‘increased tax revenue” and “job growth” are overly optimistic and not guaranteed. The state legislature could decide to allow Newport Grand to move anywhere in Newport, and we permanently lose control over the casino’s location. The actual social costs of increased gambling far outweigh any estimated gains in tax income.
Living in Newport November 01, 2012 at 05:10 PM
One more thought about the Casinos: It’s hard to believe casino promoters claiming they focus only on “responsible, recreational gamblers” and gambling addiction is not a big problem. Nationwide, between 35 - 50 % of all casino revenue actually comes from gambling addicts! Without revenue from gambling addicts casino profits plummet. Furthermore, studies show people living within 10 miles of a casino are twice as likely to become problem gamblers than those who live further away. Gambling addiction has been compared to alcohol addiction. While that comparison has some parallels, in other ways gambling differs from the situation with alcohol addiction. We already have laws on the books and training programs for people in the hospitality industry to refuse serving alcohol to an obviously inebriated person. Someone can actually be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. In the casino business, there are no rules to stop serving a problem gambler. The emphasis is on encouraging more gambling from everyone. That’s the business of gaming.

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