Delaware’s state senate has voted to redirect $10 billion in economic development funding to bail out three gambling casinos. The measure now goes to the House. Two reasons the casinos are failing: increased competition from Maryland and Pennsylvania and having to share a large chuck of revenue with the state. Lawmakers admit the bailout is only a “Band Aid,” and not enough to salvage the operations.
The casinos are certainly in trouble. According to Delaware Newszap.com Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment saw a $1 million loss in Q1 2014 and is $46 million in debt. During that same first quarter the casino paid the state $16 million in revenue.
Revenue sharing between the state and the casinos has grown more onerous over the past 20 years. In 1997, the casino claimed 50.2 percent of the revenue and the state took 25.2 percent. In 2009, that split reversed, with the state claiming 43.5 percent of revenues and the casino keeping 37.8 percent.
Pennsylvania has put together a $28 billion budget that is balanced through evasive practices. The budget relies on hundreds of millions in not-yet-promised federal money and overstated revenue increases. More disturbing is the $66 million in “WAMs” or Walking Around Money. Pennsylvania’s version of legislative pork politics, WAMs are revenues that are set aside for lawmakers to shower on pet projects in their districts.
In Boston, the teachers unions are at odds with an elementary school. At the John D. O’Bryant School an incentive program (launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) awards AP teachers when students pass the exam. The Boston Teachers Union says it’s not fair and the bonus should be distributed to all teachers, since “no one is solely responsible for the development of these students.”
According to the AP, FEMA is exploring how to use foreclosed homes to house people displaced by future natural disasters:
The federal government is exploring how to put Florida hurricane evacuees in foreclosed homes if a Katrina-like storm devastates the region and shelters, hotels and other housing options are full, The Associated Press has learned.
Officials told AP on Tuesday that it is an effort to find some benefit in the foreclosure crisis and keep people close to their homes and communities instead of scattering them around the country, which happened when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other parts of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi almost four years ago. Thousands of victims who lost their homes in the storm moved to Houston, Atlanta and other cities, and many never returned.