New Hampshire has been suffering through a recession along with the rest of the country. NH appears to have fielded it somewhat better than other states yet we are still facing shortfalls. The house and senate cannot come to an agreement while discussing the budget Concord, NH state house.
We currently have a budget issue and one item on the table is gambling to solve it. Specifically, slot machines located in near vicinity of our neighbor Massachusetts and scattered throughout New Hampshire at different possible locations.
NH has a projected budget of 11.6 million dollars that will needs be balanced by July 1, 2009. This budget will encompass spending for the next two years. Naturally there is the usual wrangling and politicking to meet a balanced budget. The senate currently wants to rely on 205 million from legalized gambling to help close the fiscal gap while the house has repeatedly rejected the video slots idea.
One alternative solution to slot machines is to raise taxes on capital gain taxes on limited liability corporations. This could be on the dicey side. It may discourage LLC’s in business since their profit margins will diminish. Many LLC’s are entrepreneurs; they may feel defeated before they even have a heartfelt start. Established LLC’s may find it more profitable to do business elsewhere. This discussion is due to the loophole in the state’s 5 percent dividends taxes.
The issue of gambling in NH is not new. There was quite a lot of hubbub in the sixties when the lottery was introduced to help fund the school systems. It has generated millions since its induction. The anti gamblers and more pious of NH think slot machines will lead to degeneration around the state. David Hess, the deputy house republican leader said, “It is an obvious risk and threat to NH and quality of life. It’s an opportunistic, cannibalistic industry.” Others are afraid people will gamble away their money, leaving them no choice but to turn to state for help.
One location up for possible slot machines is Berlin NH. Berlin is a former paper mill town that is currently on a very low tier economically. It’s a fair bet that any industry would be welcomed with open arms in Berlin. Houses can be bought for almost a song and the foreclosures have increased. Slot machines would generate local income and more than likely give the town a much needed boost. Income residuals would generate for the state as well.
It’s a fact that the gaming industry suffers during hard economic times just like other industries. Foxwoods recently laid off 700 employees. Even with 700 people laid off they are still providing jobs, jobs that would not exist without their presence. When the economy is up so is gaming. Although gaming is an unsure bet, perhaps we could use the money wisely when the profits are up to see us through the more difficult times.
We could use a little vision and careful planning rather than stick it to the LLC’s in the state.
Sources: NH Union Leader
NH Foster’s Daily Democrat