NH Gov Budgets $80 Million From Source That Doesn’t Exist


What would you think of a state government budget that includes $80 Million dollars in revenue based on casino gambling when that state doesn’t have one single casino?  Now add the fact that the state legislature hasn’t even approved legislation to permit casino gambling.  Crazy?  That’s one way of describing it.

The very clearly supportive New Hampshire Sentinel Source is even a bit troubled by the idea:

“Gov. Maggie Hassan showed Thursday that she’s ready to toss the dice on bringing gambling to the state by including $80 million in projected revenue from a casino licensing fee in her proposed budget.

Presenting her proposal to state lawmakers, Hassan said that with Massachusetts recently receiving 11 applications for its three available licenses it’s clear that there’s “more than enough room for a New Hampshire casino.”

NH Governor Hassan
Photo:  www.wcfonline.org

Perhaps the governor is right, but what if she’s wrong?

Bear in mind that casinos have been closing left and right over the past few years, and the most popular casino in New England has been struggling financially for at least that long.

“State lawmakers haven’t begun yet to hash out legislation permitting expanded gambling, making discussion about licensing fees rather premature. If a law were to pass, state officials would have to craft regulations and put the license out for bid.

Take, for example, Massachusetts, where lawmakers passed a law allowing three new casinos in 2011. The Bay State’s gaming commission isn’t even expected to release its first license until February 2014, the Boston Globe reported earlier this week.

It’s also troublesome that Hassan’s proposal hinges on an $80 million revenue projection for a casino license — far higher than what at least one Granite State research group has said is realistic. Last month, N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies Executive Director Steve Norton told House Ways and Means committee members that even a $50 million estimate may be too high, adding that New Hampshire’s price will likely depend on how soon Massachusetts opens casinos.”

Well, there you have it.  A state governor presenting a budget that includes $80 million dollars in revenue from a source that doesn’t exist.  Of course, if the legislature fails to approve casino gambling in the Granite State, $80 million dollars in CUTS will have to be made.

Do I really need to tell you what political party Governor Hassan pledges allegiance to?

I didn’t think so.

PS:  While her party holds control over the state’s House of Representatives, the opposition party controls the state’s Senate.  What could possibly go wrong?