Yesterday Governor Hutchinson told reporters that passage of Issue 4 on Tuesday is going to create a $40 million budget shortfall for the state.
Hutchinson was asked about the passage of Issue 4 legalizing casinos at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, and in Pope and Jefferson counties. Hutchinson said he had voted against the amendment. It passed with 54% of the vote.
“My first budget meeting today showed a $40-plus million gap because that amendment passed,” he said. “That reduced the tax rate [for Oaklawn and Southland], and so we have to adjust for that down the road.”
Hutchinson said he didn’t know what the amendment’s long-term effects would be.
Under Issue 4, Oaklawn and Southland will pay less money in taxes for their casino games than they currently do for their so-called “electronic games of skill.”
Overall, casinos in Arkansas will pay some of the lowest taxes of any casinos in America, and the State Legislature will not be able to raise the taxes on casino revenue.
Instead of boosting Arkansas’ economy and providing more tax revenue, it seems Issue 4 is going to be a drain on the state from Day One.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Little Rock – On Tuesday Arkansas voters passed Issue 4, a state constitutional amendment authorizing four casinos in Arkansas.
Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement, saying, “This is a bad deal for Arkansas. These casinos are going to be festering sores in our
communities. They’re going to pull money out of the local economies and plunge some of our poorest families deeper into poverty. That’s why Family
Council remains committed to opposing casino gambling at every possible turn.
“Out-of-state gambling interests spent millions of dollars to persuade Arkansas voters to approve this amendment, creating a casino monopoly for the
Cherokee and Quapaw Indian Tribes along with owners of casinos in Hot Springs and West Memphis.
“Some people may think that Arkansans are already going to gamble, so we may as well have them gamble in Arkansas instead of going out of state. That’s terribly misguided. People who live near the border are still going to go out of state, because those casinos are closer. People who live in the middle of the state will gamble a lot more, because the casinos are closer to home. This means that Arkansas will have more gambling addicts. This means more bankruptcies, more domestic violence, and more families in need of food, clothing and shelter.” Cox said.
Voters in Pope County, where one of the casinos will be located, overwhelmingly rejected Issue 4, but Cox pointed out that the vote in Pope County may Not matter, because the amendment mandates the licensing of a casino there regardless of whether Pope County voters want one or not. “Under this new amendment there is no such thing as local control. The amendment automatically licenses casinos in Hot Springs and West Memphis. In Pope and Jefferson Counties, all they need is a signature from a mayor or approval by the county quorum court. After that, they are unregulated by local governments or the state legislature. Their tax rate, the types of gambling they conduct, the sale of alcohol and their hours of operation are all off limits to state or local officials.”
Cox said, “Nearly half of Arkansas voters statewide don’t want casino gambling at all. Many of the folks who supported Issue Four were misled into thinking This amendment would fund improvements to Arkansas’ roads or boost our economy. That’s not what Issue Four does. Under this constitutional amendment, casinos in Arkansas will pay some of the lowest taxes of any casinos in America, and it actually lowers taxes on our existing casinos in Hot Springs and West Memphis.”
Cox said his group remains committed to fighting casino gambling. “Issue Four was a bad amendment before the election. It’s still a bad amendment today. Gambling addiction is going to wreck a lot of lives in Arkansas and hurt a lot of families because of Issue Four. That’s why we remain committed to fighting Casino gambling in Arkansas.”
Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
118 ministers and church leaders have signed a letter opposing a casino amendment that will appear on the ballot next week.
Watch this video to learn more. Click here to read the letter.