They called it a windfall for school funding.
The voters said “yes.”
Within a year or two, that promise went down the drain as the legislature yanked budgeted funds and replaced them with the Lotto proceeds.
In 2004, Slot Machine advocates promised voters that resulting revenues would be a windfall for public schools.
Slots for Tots as the campaign went.
Even promoted by photos of Dan Adkins presenting a symbolic $500 million check to Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Boards Association.
They called it a windfall for public schools, hinting that since the money would come from Broward, we’d get a bigger share.
I was the only School Board member to speak out at the time and call it what it was;
Another sham perpetrated on the backs of school children.
And as usual, the media ignored what I had to say.
One or two other Board members finally followed when they realized that the pro slots forces were purposely ignoring the one School Board that mattered.
Meanwhile, local political leaders were paid off handsomely to get their people to vote for slots.
The vote was close and it was Broward that carried the initiative over the finish line.
The Florida School Boards Association was duped by the promise of “free money.”
Other School Boards around the state were duped by the promise of “free money.”
The voters were duped by the promise of a “windfall for public schools” and said “yes.”
Where’d the money go? Not for schools.
At least not Broward schools. Since the “business of slots” went live:
The capital budget for Broward schools slashed by more than half.
The operations budget for Broward schools slashed by almost half a billion dollars.
The state’s general fund got the windfall, even if it was only a quarter of what was “promised.”
The “education trust fund” got little or nothing.
Governor Charlie Crist made a “deal” with the Seminole Casinos in 2010 for table games and money for the education trust fund.
Not a penny for education.
Every time somebody promises more for new games, Broward voters and schools get screwed.
This time it isn’t about schools and children… So far.
But it is about unsustainable, pie in the sky promises.
Genting Group out of Malaysia, is gambling (pardon the expression) on the site of the old Miami Herald building to build a 5,200 room hotel and casino.
They’re bringing a completely new definition of pie in the sky along with it.
100,000 jobs. They’ll also sell 100,000 tickets to Disney and add millions to the state’s coffers.
Of course they’ve already scaled back the jobs routine. Now it’s about 20,000 jobs.
A reality check will bring that figure closer to 4,000. Maybe less.
But it fits the pattern of Florida’s gaming efforts to a tee. Overpomise and under deliver.
But they’ve got one thing right: So far they’ve spread $185,000 in political contributions and invested in 25 lobbyists.
Still, official support for the “Resort” Casinos is wavering.
But I think we’ll still get them…
I wonder who’s selling us out this time??