Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               ”When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Congressman Trent Franks Tribal Gaming Bill Attracts Bi-Partisan Support

 

It’s good to see legislation like H.R. 1410 that would keep the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON) from building a casino in the middle of Glendale. It’s even better to see it is a bi-partisan effort. Thanks to Congressman Trent Franks and Arizona co-sponsors, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Congressmen Paul Gosar and David Schweikert, for leading the charge to stop TON from violating the compact with Arizona.

Sixteen tribes ALL agreed, INCLUDING, TON to certain KEY principles and the Indian Gaming compact that went to the voters to be approved in 2002, i.e. Prop 202.

H.R. 1410 honors the voters intent to keep indian gaming on indian tribal land and NOT on county islands across Maricopa County. Below is an article talk about this new legislation.

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Mike Sunnucks
Phoenix Business Journal
April 9, 2013

Opponents of a proposed $500 million Native American casino in the West Valley are taking another stab at stopping the controversial development.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and three other Arizona lawmakers introduced new federal legislation prohibiting new casinos in the Phoenix area.

The bill, House Resolution 1410, is aimed at a proposed Tohono O’odham Nation casino at 91st and Northern avenues just north of Jobing.com Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium.

The land is in Franks district and is on unincorporated land on the Glendale and Peoria city borders. That allows the casino development to fit into a 1986 federal law allowing the O’odham tribe to bring unincorporated lands in the Valley into its reservation holdings after losing some lands because of federal dam construction near Tucson.

The casino is opposed by the city of Glendale, Franks and two other tribes — the Gila River Indian Community and Salt River Maricopa Indian Community. Those two tribes have casinos operating in the Phoenix area.

Three other Arizona House members — U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert —have signed onto the Franks bill. They argue the casino goes against the Proposition 202 Indian gaming pact approved by Arizona voters.

“More than a decade ago, Arizona tribes unified around Proposition 202, and the voters agreed,” said Kirkpatrick, a Democrat whose district includes Flagstaff, parts of the Gila River reservation as well as the Navajo Nation. “I’m co-sponsoring this legislation because it upholds the will of those voters and the overwhelming majority of tribes who participated in this historic effort.”

Gosar and Schweikert are both Republicans. Schweikert’s district includes the Salt River lands well as the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, which operates a casino just north of Fountain Hills.

Gosar’s district also includes GRIC lands.

Glendale officials also back the new legislation. The city has fought unsuccessfully in court to derail the casino plans.

“The city supports Congressman Trent Franks and a bi-partisan coalition of U.S. Representatives who want to uphold the trust of Arizona voters,” reads a city statement. “Proposition 202 was specifically passed more than a decade ago based upon a tribal promise that casino gaming would be restricted to only existing reservations and that new reservations for gaming would not be established in the Phoenix metropolitan area.”

Representatives from the Tohono O’odham tribe, which traditionally has its reservation in southern Arizona.

Marriage: It’s What’s Good for Children

Marriage: It’s What’s Good for Children
Many today have forgotten the common good marriage between one man and one woman provides for our culture. A challenge we all face is how to restore marriage to its valued place of honor and importance. Marriage is a positive good for our country – it’s life-giving.Over the last few decades, marriage has been devalued through no-fault divorce, cohabitation, and even those that want to redefine marriage altogether.Perhaps no one has suffered more from the decline in the value of marriage than children. Yet many deny and fail to understand the negative impact divorce and court decisions redefining marriage have on children.Thankfully, as more research becomes available on the harms of cohabitation and divorce on children, policy makers are stepping up to address these problems. Last session, the Arizona Legislature passed a CAP-supported divorce reform bill, which adds information about the effects of divorce on adults and children to the mandatory parenting education classes for divorcing parents of minor children and allows couples to ask for additional time to reconcile before a divorce is finalized.On the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse blog, Professor Helen Alvaré writes about how across the country more officials are beginningto recognize the impact bad policy on marriage has on children.Another excellent resource is Why Marriage Matters by the Institute for American Values, which documents thirty conclusions from the social sciences on why marriage is good for our country.
Alan Chambers in the Lion’s Den
World magazine has named Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, as their 2011 Daniel. Exodus ministers to those struggling with homosexuality.
I applaud World for their selection. Take time to read the article. Most importantly, take time to pray for Alan and the Exodus team who daily come under constant assault and attack from the media and opponents. You can send your encouragements to him on Twitter, @alanmchambers.

Frontline Public Policy Experience
CAP is now accepting intern applications for policy and communication interns to serve during the upcoming legislative session. Interning with CAP during session provides college students with real-life experience down at the state Capitol working in public policy. Click here for details of both positions. Please forward this opportunity to those who might be interested and qualified.

Exploiting the Poor
On the Foundations blog this week, CAP Legislative Coordinator Dave Ernest explores how gambling – either at a casino or through the lottery – exploits the poor. He presents yet another case why the expansion of gambling is never right for our state.

Good, But Unexpected, News
The abortion industry has a long history of putting their agenda ahead of the health and safety of women – and especially of minor girls. Pushing for over-the-counter availability of the “morning-after” pill is just one of the many ways their lobbying puts women at risk.
In a surprising turn of events this week, Kathleen Sebelius, the head of the federal Health and Human Services Department and an outspoken abortion advocate, overruled an FDA decision that would have made the morning-after pill, which can act as an abortifacient, available over the counter to girls younger than 17 without a prescription. Read more about this decision from Family Research Council.

CA Marriage Amendment Back in Court
Yesterday, our friends at ProtectMarriage.com and Alliance Defense Fund were back in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to defend the majority of Californians who voted to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Read more about this hearing, and why a lower court’s ruling, which overturned the marriage amendment, had some serious problems.

Not the Way Out

Not the Way Out

The budget crisis across the country is on everyone’s mind. Just this week, our national debt topped $15 trillion. In Arizona, our leaders are seeking ways to responsibly meet our own state budget needs.

As the Legislature searches for ways to balance our state budget, with some wanting to increase state revenues, I am becoming increasingly concerned that the expansion of gambling is being considered. Changing our state laws to allow casinos at racetracks – “racinos” – would dramatically change the character of our state and impact families.

Legislators shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of Arizona’s families. The harms of gambling, while not often discussed, are very real. You can read more of on this on the Foundations blog.

Thankfully, more than half of the members of the House and of the Senate indicated in CAP’s 2010 Voter Guide that they would oppose “Allowing slot machines and table games off Indian reservations.” I remain confident that they will stay true to their word and not allow gambling to expand.

Still a Long Way to Go
A few weeks ago, I told you that abortions in Arizona had dropped by 30% in September, according to newly released Department of Health Services data. This week, DHS released updated numbers showing that the decrease in numbers continues but not at the 30% pace originally reported. The good news is that abortions still dropped by 417 over the last three months compared to the same time period in 2010. No doubt the drop in abortions directly resulted from the court decision upholding the Abortion Consent Act, the enactment of Arizona’s ultrasound requirement, and Planned Parenthood’s ending abortion services at seven of their ten clinics.

The new data, however, deeply troubles me because 179 preborn children have been aborted at 20 and 21 weeks from January-October 2011, and children can survive outside of the womb at 20 weeks. It’s a sign of how much work remains when babies who could clearly survive outside their mother’s wombs are not surviving inside their mother’s womb.

Key Victory for Marriage Proponents in California
Finally, good news from California’s Prop 8 litigation! The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the ProtectMarriage.com legal team can defend the state marriage amendment in court. You may recall that the state governor and attorney general both refused to defend the marriage amendment on behalf of the voters. Yesterday’s decision puts in place the strongest legal team to represent the right of voters to define marriage.

All eyes are on the Prop 8 case, Perry v Brown, as it likely will determine whether individual states have the right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman or whether the federal courts will take away that right.

Weak Arguments
Also this week, a federal court judge heard arguments from the state and the ACLU about a CAP-supported bill that disqualifies donations to organizations that provide, promote, pay for, or provide referrals for abortion from being eligible for the working poor tax credit. The ACLU, representing the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is arguing that Arizona should be forced to provide the benefit of the working poor tax credit to organizations that refer women for abortion.

CAP is supporting the state’s defense. On the Foundations blog this week, our Legal Counsel Deborah Sheasby explains why the ACLU’s case is based on weak arguments.

Neely Stands Against Off-Reservation Expansion of Tribal Gaming

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Bentz

Lobbyist Gullett advocates for expanded gaming and Stanton fails to act. 

Phoenix – The Tohono O’odham Nation is pushing to build a casino in the unincorporated land bordering the Cities of Glendale and Peoria. Although their move is opposed by Senator McCain, Senator Kyl, Governor Brewer, Mayor Scruggs, and other local and civic leaders, the Federal Government continues to remove the roadblocks and support tribal rights over city rights. Peggy Neely has joined those who have taken a stand against the off-reservation expansion of tribal gaming.

“Phoenix deserves a leader who they can count on to stand with its regional partners against these types of expansions which threaten municipal autonomy,” said Peggy Neely, “The residents should know that their leader will act decisively and in their interest.”

Lobbyist Wes Gullett is an advocate for expanded gaming. He was hired in 2005 by the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians to lobby for a deal similar to the one in Glendale to allow the Guidiville tribe to build a casino outside their tribal lands. According to the New York Times, Mr. Gullett’s job was to ensure that a proposed “overhaul of the Indian gambling laws did not harm the tribe.” (September 27, 2008)

During their time in the Attorney General’s office, neither Terry Goddard nor Greg Stanton took a position on the Glendale casino issue. Furthermore, they failed to join Governor Brewer and lawmakers in Glendale’s lawsuit against the Tohono O’odham Nation.

“With similar efforts are underway in the states of California and New York, it is only a matter of time before this gaming expansion trend extends to the City of Phoenix,” concluded Neely, “Mr. Gullett has already proven that his self-interest trumps public interest and Mr. Stanton has once again failed to take a stand. Voters are looking for a leader who will stand up for them and do the right thing. I have a track record of making the hard choices and standing by my word.”

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Senator Steve Pierce: Boosting Arizona’s Economy

By Arizona State Senator Steve Pierce

How “Racinos” Could Save our State

This past session was one that had many interesting turns. We created the Arizona Commerce Authority, which makes the state more competitive in bringing new businesses to the state and expanding existing ones. We passed a package of tax cuts, phasing down the corporate income tax, eliminating payroll and property taxes for Arizona companies selling products out-of-state, and cutting property taxes for Arizonans. We passed the first balanced budget in five years, saved the state’s retirement system, saw demonstrations with the now infamous bullhorn, and made cuts, cuts, and more cuts.

For the third year, these cuts were significant. The Legislature’s primary mission is to pass a balanced budget, and we finally did it with no gimmicks, no new rollovers, and no new borrowing. We did what we expect everyone to do: live within our means. In the past, we have burdened the state with a great amount of debt that will take years to pay off, simply to avoid having to make these difficult but necessary cuts. This session there was no alternative–we did what needed to be done, and my caucus is content with these decisions. There is definitely still room for improvement in select areas, such as DES, and we can find these reforms with the help of the new director, Clarence Carter.

I believe we have to continue to make reforms that make the state leaner and more efficient, and this session has given us a great start. Now, we need to start looking for additional revenues.

Because the Republican caucuses in both the Senate and the House believe that raising taxes is not an option, we have to look toward new sources. So, what might those be?

First, tobacco is taxed at an enormous two dollars per pack. If voters can be swayed into passing legislation to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, why not find a tax that is fitting for this? If we taxed marijuana at the same rate as tobacco, we could raise as much as $4.8 million This is one place where I believe we can find some of the revenues we need to help pull Arizona out of its economic slump.

Another source of revenue we could look at is the concept of racinos, an idea that has been brought up and discussed heavily within our Legislature in the past. Never before did we want to consider the expansion of gaming in the state. However, times have changed and drastic situations call upon us to reconsider this issue. Our economy is in shambles and the state debt is catastrophic. We owe $1.1 billion on a mortgage of the Capitol, another $1 billion in education rollovers, and yet another $1 billion in the state’s deficit. How will we ever be able to rebuild our infrastructure, our parks, fund education, and keep AHCCCS alive without looking for other sources of revenue? We have to find more funding for Arizona without damaging our frail economy, and we should consider gaming as a means to do this. Recent studies show that with the implementation of racinos, we could make close to $300 million for the state’s General Fund in the first year alone, and could grow to $1 billion/year in the next few years.

Some naysayers claim that we should not permit gambling in Arizona. Clearly, they are not aware that we already allow it. For example, you can buy lottery tickets in the DES cafeteria right now. Take a drive down just about any major freeway and eventually you will see the enormous casinos on which the Indian tribes now have a monopoly. If you recall the passage of Prop 301, we limited the transparency of what we gain from casino gambling in the state, and we will not know exactly what percentage we actually receive for many years. It has been good for the tribes and will continue to be, but what many people do not realize is how good it could be for Arizona as a whole. Granting our state the right to have limited gaming would help agencies statewide, and therefore it is an option we should ponder closely.

These are extraordinary times that require extraordinary solutions. We have to look at every possible option, and racinos should be at the top of our list of considerations. They would bring innumerable jobs to the state, serving as a significant boost for Arizona’s economy. We should not dismiss the idea until we have carefully studied it first; it is a simple solution to a difficult problem.

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Abramoff Released From Prison; close ties to Hayworth linger in the minds of voters

 

Today Jack Abramoff, perhaps the epitome’ of DC corruption and partner to power hungry politicos, was released to a half-way house until December.  If his release will bring about a resurgence of the voter anger expressed after the greatest campaign finance scandal to hit DC, that ultimately ended the lack-luster career of JD Hayworth and diminish his current hopes, is yet to be seen. There is no doubt, the names Abramoff and Hayworth will be linked in the minds of voters for years to come. 

This cannot be a good week for Team Hayworth, with reports his campaign is losing steam and this ugly little reminder of just how low some people will go.  You would think after the whole Abramoff “thing”, taking a closer look at folks would have been a good idea.  But, then…I guess some people never learn.       

Tastes Like Chicken

McCain-Yard-Sign

Have you ever been asked to taste something that is different than your normal menu du jour?  Typically, this happens with things that might be considered gamey, wild, or offensive.  They have a certain allure, the challenge of the hunt, the novelty of being edgy and different but when you ask…”What does it taste like?”  the answer is…”Tastes like chicken.”

The food item might have a different name, a different species, an entirely different origin…but when you peel back the skin or pluck the feathers and the heat gets to it….it is very similar to something very familiar.

We are currently enduring the presidency of a man with great oratorical skills, who can take a message and spin it well.  He is able to affect dialects of various regions without giving away that it isn’t really his at all.  He talks a good game.  His rhetoric and running “against” rather than “for” was enough to get him elected POTUS.

Most of us know of his record.  Not much to it, lots of “present” votes and little else.  Well, then there is that ugly little matter back in Illinois when he voted for late term abortions.  But…he managed to spin that right out of the public eye.  How did he do it?  He deflected, deferred, marginalized, and with his exceptional rhetorical continues to blame others for all that is wrong and he alone can, and will, make it right.

Lately, I’ve had this nagging notion of déjà vu.  What was it?  It was like I was seeing something so familiar but…different.  Then, watching the video of JD Hayworth at the LD21 meeting…it hit me!

JD Hayworth  is the latest version of “tastes like chicken”!

Can JD talk a good game?  YES HE CAN!

Heck, he talked about games for years before running for office.

Can JD captivate an audience? YES HE CAN!

He was paid for his ability to maintain ratings while a sportscaster. What great training and experience that must have been.  Then all those years on drive time radio, where he controlled the mike, the dialogue, and the subject…who could ask for a better venue?

Can JD market himself to appeal to the consumer?  YES HE CAN!

He has been working on it ever since he was booted from office in a district with an 18% Republican advantage.  He had to; his job was to create an image that would appeal to the market his boss served.  If along the way he made a great living and elevated his chances of returning to DC… just a perk.

Can JD spin a news cycle with the best of them? OH, YES HE CAN!

He has marginalized his own record by pointing out the flaws in others and done so with such grace as to make it appear like business as usual.

The guy is good.  He has made a living out of it.

But, what did he do while in office.  What reasonable expectation can the voter have that he will be more than a great voice with exceptional speaking skills?

Well, let’s look at that….. Congressman Dick Armey, who was House Majority Leader for 8 years of JDs time on The Hill had this to say recently:

….J.D. had a fairly short, undistinguished congressional career with virtually no initiative on his part.”

No initiative?  That’s not good.  But, that’s not all….

As I recall, J.D. was on the Ways and Means Committee and I didn’t really see him make any distinguished effort, for example, like people like (Arizona GOP Reps.) Jeff Flake and John Shadegg in terms of creative ideas and legislative initiative,” Armey said. “Certainly nothing on the cost-control front. But John McCain was the first guy to understand the need to get earmarks under control. He took a real leadership role, as did Jeff Flake.”

So, what about his record?  JD Hayworth is deeply tied, unfortunately, to the two things that have caused the prairie fire of anti-Washington and anti-GOP sentiment….corruption and spending.

I will be the first to say unequivocally… JD Hayworth was exonerated of any wrong doing.  However, there is no denying  Hayworth was involved with former “super-lobbyist” Jack Abramoff and the largest recipient of campaign money from the now-convicted Abramoff.

No “illegal” activity.  But what about judgment and desire to win at all costs?

On to spending…..boy, this could fill a page! So, how about the highlights?

The 2002 Highway Bill…the pork-laden bill that gave us the Highway to Nowhere and filled the pockets of lots of folks with money taken directly from ours.

The unfunded Medicare bill, $7 trillion in debt bequeathed to our children.  Yep, he voted for it.

He supported the 527 campaign loophole bill that created more problems than McCain-Feingold.

And while you are on the bi-partisanship never got us anywhere kick…how about his support of the Dem sponsored, job killing, small business impeding  Sarbanes-Oxley Act?

Yeah….definitely, taste like chicken!

CAP Opposes Racetracks’ Bailout Campaign

Despite state legislators giving a resounding NO to gambling expansion during the regular session, proponents of expanded gambling have launched a new and more aggressive (and expensive!) public relations campaign to try to convince legislators, the Governor, and the public that casino-style gambling should be allowed off-reservation at racetracks. Because their revenues are down, the racetracks are asking the Legislature to bail them out with a proposal that would “help any racetrack in the country stay in business.” Gambling proponents promise a quick, easy way for the state to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars – but there’s much of the story they’re not telling.
 
First, allowing off-reservation gambling will trigger the “poison pill” of the gambling compacts the state has with the tribes, which means the current limits on the number of casinos and games on Indian reservations will be blown open. Arizona could look like the next Las Vegas with very few real limits on casino gambling. Already we see signs that other entertainment establishments will press for casino-style gambling if the caps are off and the tracks get casinos.
 
Second, gambling revenues nationally are spiraling downward, yet the racetracks allege they could produce $500 million and up in state revenue if legislators only would let them have slot machines and table games. Gambling is not recession proof! Lotteries and commercial gambling are declining, with casino owners filing for bankruptcy or selling casinos. People needing jobs don’t have discretionary income to waste on gambling.
 
Next, studies repeatedly show that gambling’s economic and social effects are negative, not positive. Gambling leads to increased rates of crime, divorce, domestic violence, and a host of other social ills!  Professor John Kindt of the University of Illinois estimates that for every $1 in gambling revenue, the state must spend an additional $3 in social services and law enforcement.
 
Lastly, don’t be fooled! Gambling expansion is not inevitable. In fact, the national trends show a decrease in gambling revenue, a decrease in popularity, and a decrease in gambling expansion.
 
Desperate state budget woes do not call for desperate action based on questionable promises of increased gambling revenue. In the CAP 2008 Voter’s Guide, fifteen senators and thirty-five representatives stated they would oppose allowing slots and table games off reservations. We have every expectation these members will keep their word and defeat any gambling expansion proposals. Additionally, while running for Secretary of State, Gov. Brewer answered a similar survey question in our 2006 Voter’s Guide stating that she opposed allowing slots and table games off reservations. We are continuing to work to ensure that those commitments to you, the voters, are kept and that gambling expansion is not included in any budget agreement. For more information on gambling, visit our resource page Gambling Expansion in Arizona.

“Racino:” A Key Budget Option for the Arizona Legislature

By Jay Heiler

We have now completed a 2009 legislative session which was dominated by work on a balanced state budget, and yet failed to produce one. Or, if you prefer, failed to produce one that Gov. Jan Brewer would be willing to sign. This is in part the fault of the Legislature, in part the fault of the governor.Of course, many in those provinces will tell you that it’s mainly the fault of the Secretary of Homeland Security. Janet Napolitano may now be keeping the nation safe, but she did not leave the state fiscally sound.

Having said that, the matter is no longer about assigning blame but charting a way out. And it’s also true that given the state’s revenue shrinkage amid the current recession, the budget would be under stress even if it hadn’t been grown too quickly. It would just be under less stress, and the solution set would be less painful. The state’s politicians are now about the business of distributing that pain, not a job most of them relish.

It’s against this fiscal backdrop that the subject of the Arizona’s gaming policy has come due for review. Briefly expressed, that policy holds that some number of the state’s Native American tribes shall be allowed indefinitely to reap billions of dollars from gambling receipts, and everyone else shall reap precious little.

Now for a time and up to a point, that policy has been worthy of some support. In fact I was there, working for then-Gov. Fife Symington, when that policy was born. During Symington’s first term the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) imposed upon states the obligation to allow tribal casino operations, although limited in size, scope and place. And the idea that through their casino operations Arizona’s tribes might gain some overdue relief from persistent poverty was appealing to most Arizonans.

It’s worked out that way too, as nearly two dozen tribes have capitalized well on the exclusive franchise. Across 15 years they have collectively realized s billions of dollars in gaming profits, and they are now aggressively building new destination resorts around their casinos. One tribe has now boldly asserted its right to build such a place not on reservation land but right in the heart of Glendale. Despite the city’s resistance, they will most likely pull it off.

So here comes the point: Casino gambling is here to stay in Arizona. Already embedded in the community, it is going to become more so and it is going to grow. The only remaining public policy question is how effectively we are going to regulate and tax it for the benefit of all Arizonans.

When the state is $3.5 billion and more than 30 percent short on its budget, this question ought to be called by the state’s political leadership. It hasn’t been. Arizona’s racing industry has therefore called it, seeking permission to operate casinos on its existing racetrack properties and give the state 45 percent of the profits.

In the early going this would provide the state with a hundreds of millions in additional annual revenue, to spend on schools and universities, law enforcement and transportation, indigent care and other essential state responsibilities. If the state so chose, it could securitize that revenue and reap an enormous sum to help close the current budget shortfall, or it could simply enjoy the revenue going forward on an annual basis.

There are only two rational objections against allowing the tracks to open so-called “racinos,” which already exist in many states. The first is from gambling opponents who see it as an expansion of something they don’t like, but as noted above that expansion is going to happen anyway. Some people get this. Mike Huckabee was the featured speaker at the Center for Arizona Policy’s most recent annual event. He has already backed racinos in his home state of Arkansas.

The second objection, from the tribes and allied voices who might fear competition, is similarly flawed. The tribes will be fine; their operations will always have a long head-start and first-mover advantage, and they will be qualitatively different from the offerings at horse and dog tracks. They will continue to realize handsome profits for the benefit of their people. They have enjoyed an exclusive franchise for a long time and paid a tiny tax rate, a small fraction of what is paid by gaming operations in neighboring Nevada and elsewhere.

I grew up in the Thoroughbred racing business, tromping through the summer mud and across the frozen winter pastures of rural Cincinnati to feed and water the carefully-bred horses my dad hoped would hit it big. Today the industry — and it is a real industry with real jobs, real intellectual capital and long tradition that exist outside and beyond the wagering on races — has come under tremendous pressure from multiplying casinos. Arizona is actually well-positioned for a prominent place in Thoroughbred breeding and racing and the considerable economic benefits that would bring, but it will not happen without the racinos that have been permitted in other states.

Arizona’s gaming policy is untenable. Time and circumstances have predictably passed it by, like stakes horses dusting a $5,000 claimer on the backstretch. At the same time, the governor and the Legislature remain locked in a bitter dispute over how to balance the budget (they haven’t yet but must) and whether doing so will require new revenues (it will). A long list of vital state interests from education to law enforcement are hanging in the breach. The state’s gaming policy must be revised for the benefit of all Arizonans.

Jay Heiler is the former Chief of Staff under Governor Fife Symington. Currently, Mr. Heiler is a public affairs consultant representing the Arizona Racetrack Association.