Jockeying for casinos in the state may very well be on, and I’d like to say it’s good news, but I can’t
I’ve always been a supporter of casinos in Florida and the state needs to move into the 21st century.
Deniers and naysayers have had their way for too long since gambling has been a fact in Florida for decades and for the most part, not a single penny has gone to the state’s treasury.
At least until the 2004 “slots for tots” campaign.
Most of us will remember that campaign which promised millions in additional funding for Florida schools.
But the groups that proposed and ramrodded the amendment didn’t involve or even ask for the support of School Boards around the state proving one thing;;;
It wasn’t about the kids at all.
It was about money.
Profit for the “Racinos,” and money for the state.
When they finally did, it was too late. They’d pissed off the various boards to the point where none would support or even talk about the effort.
It was a great campaign, but as usual, the voters were duped.
Three slots “racinos” in Broward county (five, had Miami-Dade voted yes) would not only contribute to Broward schools, but all 67 school districts in the state.
The bottom line is that even if the effort had been allowed to pay off as advertised, Broward schools would essentially get zippo while the owners got rich.
What we got was less than zippo.
No increases in dollars to the schools at all, just budget cuts.
Not a single additional penny to the district.
I guarantee that somewhere in Tallahassee some bureaucrat can produce charts and graphs stuffed with figures to prove a contribution to education, but it’s just another Lotto sham.
It’s called creative accounting, a term that came into its own in the 1980’s.
It’s the monetary magic that major motion picture producers used to screw movie stars out of their fair share of movie profits when they signed on for a piece of the action instead of fees for their services.
The “profits” went everywhere else to offset every other cost leaving nothing but a hole in the movie star’s pocket.
Meanwhile the Indian run casinos have expanded magnificently along with “deals” for the state, and once again, more funding cuts for schools.
So get ready for the next campaign to allow full gambling in Florida, and more than likely, “for our kids” will be in the mix somewhere.
The response from the voters should be “NO.”
And keep voting no until the legislature first stops cutting school district budgets and then commits to restoring funds already cut from school budgets.
Otherwise all we’ll ever get is promises, more budget cuts, cash starved school districts and richer casino owners.