Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Racistino

BY Daniel Timp

Every year representatives of Canterbury Park engage the wider community in an attempt to gain casino machines, claiming that it would benefit the state of Minnesota. The state of Minnesota has a long history of avoiding open support of all types of gambling. The federal government granted Indian tribes the right to build casinos; unable to fight it, a state lottery and charitable gaming in bars soon followed.

The last time Canterbury Park pushed hard for a racino was while the brothers Ghermezian were trying to get the state Legislature to grant them the right to put a casino in the Mall of America. However, the issue is more complicated than Jennifer Selvig implies in her guest column, which is why the push to gain a casino at the MOA was abandoned.

Gambling addiction is a serious problem that the state of Minnesota has been hesitant to promote. The treatment of racehorses is not humane in all cases. Canterbury Park is not about to disappear, they merely see the potential profit to be had by installing video poker and slot machines.

I lived in Portland, Oregon and I know what it is like to have video poker in every bar and Keno in every gas station. Is this where we want Minnesota to go? I don’t. Would granting Canterbury Park the right to have slots and video poker necessarily result in a landslide of gambling machines across the state? Not if we granted Canterbury Park a monopoly, I suppose, but that would be more hypocritical than the state lotto.

Daniel Timp



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Sun, 04/19/2009 - 9:58pm — SMR (not verified)
Racinos a boon for Minnesota and the horse industry

U Student Daniel Timp submitted a commentary regarding Racinos. His perspective is limited to a tiny slice of not-so-recent history. Gambling bills before the Minnesota Legislature this year include video lottery terminals in bars and restaurants across Minnesota, a full casino at the Airport and a Racino bill proposed by the state's horsemen. Tim's assertion that the tracks just want to make money is short sighted and misses the big picture -- that's the one that effects farm owners and tax payers like myself.

The issue that should most concern the public is the massive amounts of money that metro casino operators are making without paying gaming taxes-- a benefit of sovereign immunity. That monopoly provides economic development opportunities outstate but generates great wealth to a very small population in the metro area. A little more than a decade ago, the billion dollar casinos that we all know now were simple bingo halls. Their expansion has been unchecked, unregulated and still provides no benefit to residents of Minnesota in the way of gaming revenue like the lottery and pari-mutuel racing do. Isn't it time for the state to benefit from people's enthusiastic participation in gaming? If the state approves alternatives to reservation casinos, the significant tax generated is voluntary and if your don't play, you don't pay!

The state must evaluate each gambling proposal on their respective merits and acknowledge that our society is a gaming society determined to play games as a form of entertainment (80% of Minnesotans claim to participate in some form of gambling as reflected in 2003 MPR/Pioneer Press and a 2003 Star Tribune Poll). The state cannot control compulsive gaming behavior anymore than the state could close all the bars to prevent alcoholism or close the malls to prevent compulsive shopping behaviors. Government cannot be the babysitter but legislation can require funds be set aside for responsible gaming programs should new gaming legislation be passed.

Unlke allowing slots in every bar, as many like Tim fear, the Racino legislation is modest in scale and big on benefits. The Racino initiative asks the state to allow the two horse racing tracks in the metro area to install the same casino games seen at existing casinos. The tracks are already highly regulated and overseen by the State Racing Commission. The tracks also employ thousands, and are the cornerstone for the racing industry in our state. The business of racing goes well beyond the racetracks. It is the business of hundreds of vets, farriers, hay and feed dealers, equipment vendors, farmers, shippers, trainers, grooms and others. And, don't forget, Racinos would generate $1/4 Billion in tax revenue every biennium -- that's a $1/4 Billion more than the existing casinos give back to our State!

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 8:32am — Writ Dye (not verified)
Jebus that was long!


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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 9:09am — U grad and Scott County taxpayer (not verified)
That may have been long but

That may have been long but the writer addressed most of the relevant points in this debate.For all of the reasons expressed,I support the Racino concept.It also will eliminate hopefully the substantial amounts of money that the Tribes give to the DFL each year in hopes of preserving the state self imposed monopoly for the Tribes.Finally, it would eliminate the jobs of some of the 40 plus registered lobbyists at the state capitol who work for the Tribes.

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 8:34am — Randy, concerned tax payer in Prior Lake (not verified)
Racinos good for Minnesota

As a Minnesota tax payer, I think Racino legislation is a fair deal. First of all it would not be a Canterbury monopoly. There are two race tracks in Minnesota, owned by different companies I believe. I am sick and tired of seeing the Mystic Lake, Grand Casino and Treasure Island casino grow bigger and bigger and knowing that the state does not get any money from their gaming. Adding other gaming options, Racinos and the race tracks, would increase competition and break the casino cartels current monopoly!

I like to visit a casino and gamble from time to time. I don’t do it in Minnesota though; I drive south to Diamond Jo, 2 miles south into Iowa. Talking to the people there they say that most of their customers are Minnesotans - over ¾ of them. That is gaming dollars and tax revenue that could and should be staying in here in Minnesota.

I support this plan, give the state some revenue! Give the tribes some fair competition, competition builds better business.

I have contacted both my state representative and my state senator to voice my support of this and they both told me that the Racino bill has little chance because the tribes donate millions of dollars to the DFL party. They told me that the DFL leadership will stand in the way of this in fear of losing campaign contributions. In spite of the common sense benefits for the state in a time when they need Billions for the budget, they are looking past the taxpayers and thinking of their own pockets. That is wrong, this is not Illinois! We need to do something about these multi Billion dollar non taxed businesses in the state, we need to save the racing in the state and bolster Minnesota’s equine industry.

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Tue, 04/21/2009 - 9:37am — Jim G (not verified)
Racino ...

Amen, I say to that !!! Adding poker machines at Canterbury would be a PLUS for the entire state !!! Our DFL compatriots (and the Indian casinos) are just yanking our chain !!! When are we, the common man, going to have some input as to our destiny ?? Pass the RACINO bill and BOOST the State's economy...

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Fri, 04/24/2009 - 9:49pm — Anonymous (not verified)

If you ever wondered why the state legislators have never passed the gamming bill and you haven't figured it out by now, their all probably on the take under the table from the local tribes.Next election comes around we'll remind them by not voting for them and remind them how they became state legislators and state senators.

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 9:49am — Kelly - horse owner (not verified)
Racino bill

In a perfect world, no one would choose to gamble away their life savings, no one would drive drunk, no one would abuse tobacco or drugs. In a perfect world, there would be no unwanted horses. This is not a perfect world.
What Daniel fails to point out is the good that Racino legislation can bring. Setting aside 1% to non-racing horse industry apportions several million dollars to fund research, improved facilities and projects that can bring about a significant change to the horses of Minnesota. When does the good outweigh the bad? In this case it is pretty clear. Minnesota needs revenue and our horses need a boost to their health, well-being, value and very existence. I fully support this legislation being a horse owner and enthusiast (not in the racing community but the proud owner of horses "off the track".) who wants to see the lives of our horses and the support of our horse communities reap the benefit.

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 11:25am — Anonymous Student (not verified)
Racino Bill.

The Racino proposal that is currently being discussed is, as someone already mentioned, modest. It is a very limited way for the state benefit from essentially no investment. There are already two ideal facilities to add gambling in a way that would benefit the state and the citizens of Minnesota. The Racino proposal would add hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs; there is already concern about the record deficit and unemployment rates - why not address that concern?

Minnesotans who want to avoid tax hikes and a loss of public services as we face looming budget cuts should voice their concerns to their state legislators. The voice of the citizens is what can help this bill to pass and prevent legislators from lining their own pockets as the tribes owning Mystic Lake, Grand Casino, and more try to avoid future competition and keep the revenues to themselves.

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 1:23pm — Anonymous (not verified)
I think people need to

I think people need to educate themselves on all aspects before speaking about anything they don't know the ins and outs about. The state is facing a deficite and until you can find a better way to support the state then don't bash the efforts being put forth in an attempt to help everyone in MN.

I fully support the Racino. I am involved in the horse community here in MN...I do not gamble by choice but why not have some options instead of what we currently have? Why let the current casinos line the pockets of the representatives that are supposed to be working to better the state of MN and represent the demographic as a whole?

I have contacted my representatives and will continue to do so until a decision has been made.

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 2:13pm — Stephanie Valberg (not verified)

The new Racino proposal would serve an all important role of replenishing diminishing funds for equine research at the U of M by providing at least 1% of proceeds to support the horse community and equine research. University of Minnesota Equine Center in collaboration with the state’s racing industry has been working together for more than 15 years to improve the health, well being and performance of the horse by supporting equine research at the U of M. Unfortunately our current source of research funding from the Minnesota Racing Commission using funds committed from on track betting at Canterbury Park Racetrack has declined due to the slowing economy. This partnership with the Racing Commission has been vital for equine research investigating colic, genetics, lameness, muscle disease, nutrition, and reproduction. Since 2001, a combined investment by the U of M and Minnesota Racing Commission of $387,400, provided enough preliminary information to obtain an additional $3,000,000 in support from state, federal and private foundations for further cutting-edge equine research. The Equine Center, its researchers, and clinical staff have dedicated themselves toward maximizing the health and well-being of horses. It is my personal belief, that the Racino bill is extremely important to support our goal of applying scientific research toward the prevention, treatment, and cure of injuries and diseases that afflict horses.

Stephanie Valberg DVM PhD

Director of the University of Minnesota Equine Center

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Mon, 04/20/2009 - 4:51pm — anonymous (not verified)
Voluntary tax could equal huge revenues for Minnesota!

In light of Minnesota's looming budget deficit how can our Legislature blatantly disregard a revenue source that could contribute one-quarter of a billion dollars to the State per biennium? I've met with our elected Legislators and heard them say "it's only $250,000,000.00". I'm wondering if they truly listened to their constituents who took the time to share their concerns at the Town Hall meetings and Legislative Road Shows held throughout Minnesota? I was there. I heard parents pleading that their disabled child's medical benefits not be cut. These meeting rooms were filled with people who were passionately sharing their stories, their concerns and their needs. I would like to hear these same Legislators tell their constituents, the individuals marking the ballot come election time, that "it's only $250,000,000.00". I'm sure there are many programs and services that could be saved with even a small portion of that $250,000,00.00.

Gambling at a racino would be a voluntary tax. If you want to gamble, you contribute. Gambling's not your thing? No problem, you aren't being forced to contribute. Quite unlike an increase in property taxes or other increases that don't give you an option of paying or not. People in Minnesota gamble. Whether it's at tribal casinos, on the internet or across our state borders. A racino would simply give people another choice - contribute to Minnesota or contribute to the tribes, our neighboring states or some anonymous entity on the internet.

Racinos will save an industry; allow owners, breeder and trainers to continue supporting Minnesota's agricultural economy; create and maintain jobs; and create $250,000,000.00 in revenue for the State of Minnesota.

Yes it is "only $250,000,000.00", but it's the only moderate proposal out there that is offering our Legislature any help in balancing the budget. If you have a better idea, that can accomplish all of the things the racino proposal can, I'd love to hear it!

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Tue, 04/21/2009 - 9:27am — Ron Oliver (not verified)
best option out there

I think Mr. Timp is missing the point. Yes gambling addiction is a serious problem, but the addition of slots at Canterbury and Running Aces would do little to add to the problem. They already offer several types of gaming as it is. On top of that there are already well over a dozen casinos operating in the state. the real issue is money, the state needs it the tracks are willing to give it. The tribal casinos in the state generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, almost all of it is untaxed. The tracks however would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue which would help provide funding for services that are in danger of being cut. Add to that the thousands of jobs that Racino would provide and the money that those jobs add to the economy and the additional tax revenue that spending generates is an additional benefit. Heck the tracks are willing to build casinos and give up hundreds of millions of dollars and they are not asking the state for a dime of assistance unlike our beloved Vikings and Twins. If anyone out there has a better idea lets hear it!

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Tue, 04/21/2009 - 3:24pm — Democrat (not verified)

Racino is a no- brainer! The Indian casinos attract thousands of people everyday, just look at their parking lots...filled with 150K dollar RV's. Does anybody really think that if that camper decides to take in a day at the races, enjoy the outdoors at Canterbury and possibly slip $10.00 into a slot machine inbetween races that the Indians are going to lose business? Come on. We are supposed to be an educated state.

Yep, I'm a 'horse person', but even non horse people have to recognize the relief that the taxable money generated will provide. Infra structure, education, keep open the state parks, JOBS. It goes on and on.

I would love to have our Gov. call two or three of the existing Racino state Governors and ask them how they balanced their budget and how much the Racino contributes to them!

Heck, any legislator, senator and the Gov. would be a flippin HERO if they passed this. Which would probably create local support for anyother 'races" they may be planning on running for!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sarah Palin joins CODEPINK!

April 1, 2009

Dear Green Party Member,

We never thought it would happen, but Sarah Palin has joined forces with CODEPINK! "My eyes have been opened, goshdarnit," she told us. "As a mother, it suddenly hit me that war is bad for children all around the world, you know what I mean? I want my son, Track, to come home from Iraq, and I don't want him to be sent to Afghanistan, either, doggonit." We asked if she would come to Washington, DC for our Mother's Day peace vigil and she winked and said "You betcha-I still have a pretty snazzy pink suit, thanks to the RNC!" She even cancelled a moose hunting trip just to join us!


But we have invited comedy writer, actor and mother Tina Fey, who played Sarah Palin so brilliantly on Saturday Night Live, to stand with us in front of the White House on Mother's Day weekend, May 9 and 10. Won't you join us, too? Check out our rockin' Mother's Day page for more info!

Our 24 hour vigil will bring together women from around the world who live in war zones to share their stories, their courage and their visions for ending war. We will stand with them in solidarity to not only tell their important stories but to model what women-centered community looks and acts like. Please feel free to bring your partners, husbands, children, mothers-the whole family is welcome! Our weekend will include teach-ins, concerts, singing, dancing, poetry, and a pink pajama party for those who spend the night with us in Lafayette Park--click here to view the full schedule.

Thank you for being part of the quilt that is CODEPINK. Let's use this Mother's Day as a time to raise our voices together and say "Disarm! Disarm!" Maybe we'll even inspire the three generations of powerful women in the White House to come out and join us in our stand "to gather in the great and general interests of Peace." Just as Julia would have wanted-you betcha!

On the shoulders of our mothers and all those who came before us,
Audrey, Blaine, Dana, Deidra, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jean, Jodie, Liz, Lori, Medea, Nancy, Paris, and Rae

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