Monday, June 29, 2009

Horse industry needs a better argument

The Lexington Herald Leader's pro-casino columnist Larry Dale Keeling's latest effort strays from the mark on a key point that deserves unbiased scrutiny. He wrote:

"As a political issue, expanded gambling may not be ripe in the General Assembly. But it's a lot riper than it was just two weeks ago. Progress was made when it passed the House for the first time."

It would be far more accurate to say that a big-government scam is what passed the House. Packing on more than a billion dollars worth of borrowed pork is what passed that bill through the House by one vote. Pretending otherwise just further delays the horse industry from focusing on a workable solution to their problems.

I'm all for freedom in the marketplace and am sympathetic to the industry trying to compete with those in other states. But in our smoke-and-mirrors budgeting welfare state, though, I can't support opening the door to casinos when it mainly means creating another bill of goods to elect politicians while taxpayers get stuck with more debt. The horse industry shatters any validity in its argument by joining forces with those in Frankfort who won't let a little thing like running out of money stop them from spending.

I want the horse industry to succeed, but we have to realize that slots only at the tracks will not be enough for the billion-dollar vote buyers. They will cut your throats at the first opportunity by setting up casinos outside the tracks. Figure out a way to expand your revenue stream without further damaging taxpayers. The political saber rattling just isn't going to cut it.