House committee votes against casino bill

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I co-sponsored numerous bills that promoted voluntary revenue sources instead of broad based taxes. Most recently, I supported and spent many hours working on the bill that directed all casino revenue to business tax reductions.

Bill would authorize casino with slots, table games

CONCORD, N.H. —A House committee voted against a bill Tuesday that would create a casino in New Hampshire.

The House Ways and Means Committee spent much of the day debating HB 1633, which would authorizing the building of a casino with slots and table games, along with a gaming commission to regulate it.

Before discussion began on the proposal, members from various labor unions gathered outside the Legislative Office Building to let their voices be heard.

“House Bill 1633 would create thousands of jobs for workers,” said union spokesman Huck Montgomery. “They would be New Hampshire jobs.”

The 20-member committee debated the amended bill, which was similar in many ways to a measure that failed last year.

“We need revenue,” said Rep. Frank Sapareto, R-Derry. “We know what our options are. There are only two. We know it’s going to be marijuana or gambling. That’s the only way we’ll get additional revenue. Our other options are income tax or a sales tax.”

The number of jobs and amount of money predicted to be created through gambling vary. Those in favor said low estimates are $100 million or more in revenue and jobs in the thousands.

But opponents said the revenue will only be half that, and there is no guarantee the jobs will go to New Hampshire residents. They also warned of social costs that range from gambling addiction to increases in domestic violence.

“This one, as far as I’m concerned, creates a great deal more damage than any other revenue source of its size that we could think about,” said Rep. Susan Almy, D-Lebanon.

After several revisions and amendments, the committee voted against the proposal 11-9.

The bill will move to the full House for a vote, but it will do so without a committee endorsement.

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