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.
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.
As ministers and leaders in Arkansas, one of our primary responsibilities is to lead God’s people and protect them from any and all forms of harm and danger. That is why we are each signing this letter in opposition to the proposed ballot measure Issue 4.
Issue 4 would amend our state’s constitution to legalize casino gambling in Arkansas. This is not a political issue or an economic issue. This is a social and moral issue. Passing Issue 4 quite literally would wreck families and ruin lives in Arkansas.
Casino gambling is tied to crime, bankruptcy, homelessness, domestic violence, divorce, and suicide. Countless children have gone hungry and been neglected, living in poverty, because of a parent’s gambling addiction.
It is our sincere conviction that legalizing casino gambling in Arkansas will harm the families and communities we are called to serve. As Christians, we are instructed to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Issue 4 would hurt our neighbors and their loved ones. For this reason, we oppose Issue 4 and we hope that other Arkansans will as well.
Altogether, 118 ministers and church leaders signed the letter, including former Baptist pastor and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Pastor Ronnie Floyd; and Pastor Greg Sykes, President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.