Proponents of the current gambling bill (HB 593) seek to broaden support by using some of the new gambling revenue to offset existing business taxes such as the Business Enterprise Tax and Business Profits Tax.
However, this is bad tax policy because gambling revenue is more volatile than the taxes it would lower. For instance, gambling spending is completely discretionary which means consumers will cut this type of spending first when the economy falters. Also, gambling will be geographically limited to a few areas of the state making it susceptible, for example, to rising gas prices which discourage travel.
The Tax Foundation has reached similar conclusions:
. . .state-run slot machines, whether overseen by the lottery agency or another agency, would present all the problems of state-run lotteries, including volatility as a revenue source. The state lottery is a poorly designed implicit tax, paid disproportionately by the poor, and slot machines would simply exacerbate the tax policy problems created by the lottery. [emphasis added]
The goal of any good tax reform plan is to broaden the tax base (on consumption) while lowering the tax rate. The gambling tax would do the opposite by having a very narrow tax base (just 4 casinos) and very high tax rates (40 percent) . . . call it the “anti-tax reform plan.”
Additionally, New Hampshire policymakers should take note of the poor state of casinos in neighboring states before jumping into an overly-saturated gambling market that would bring more problems than benefits.
For example, Maine recently expanded gambling, but now the Portland Press Herald is questioning that decision. Here is a poignant clip from the story:
As a story in the New York Times Magazine last week noted, the pool of potential gamblers is both finite and collectively nearing, if not exceeding, retirement age. Saying that "anyone who has ever wanted to try a casino has tried a casino," one industry analyst from Los Angeles told the Times that market saturation has already been reached in areas where casinos are competing.
"There are no new customers out there," Michael Mezcka said.
His comments were part of a longer analysis detailing why the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere, Foxwoods in Ledyard, Conn., is $2.3 billion in debt and facing significant pressure from "multiple levels of creditors" to get back on a sound fiscal footing . . .
Still, as the examples of Foxwoods and the Atlantic City casinos show, these operations can no longer be considered printing presses for money no matter where they are put.
How long will it be before New Hampshire is subsidizing these casinos because the state government has become addicted to the gambling revenue? If Foxwoods is struggling—with all of its advantages such as size, agglomeration with Mohegan Sun, and closer geographic proximity to urban areas—how long will New Hampshire’s casinos last without state aid?
At the same time, the economic costs associated with gambling — such as crime, additional law enforcement costs, gambling addiction treatment costs, lost worker productivity — are staggering, often far exceeding a state or community’s total revenues from gambling. The social costs are just as staggering with authorities in gambling districts reporting dramatic increases in divorce, suicide, bankruptcy, child abuse and domestic violence related to gambling.
Finally, gambling hurts existing businesses by siphoning away discretionary dollars that would have been spent at local, mom-and-pop shops and will destroy New Hampshire’s “family-friendly” brand. Our New Hampshire restaurants and hotels have earned their business in our state by refining their offerings to customers and adapting to their communities over time. If HB 593 passes, legislators will have revealed their preference for granting monopolies to out-of-state businesses at the expense of their responsibility to ensure a favorable business climate for existing New Hampshire businesses.
Policymakers who desire to support the principles of limited government will vote no on this bill which values monopolies over existing businesses, distorts the tax system and ushers in a host of social costs that will inevitably burden Health and Human Services and town welfare departments. Voters are unlikely be kind to legislators in November who vote in favor of allowing casinos to blemish the family-friendly environment of the Granite State.
HB 437 was an honest, honorable attempt to recognize one man/one woman marriage as a necessary relationship in society. Proponents of genderless marriage point to polls, but today they rejected an attempt to get the only poll that counts: a question on November's ballot so that all voters can decide.
Ultimately, it will be our children that will pay the price for failing to pass HB 437. For instance, genderless marriage ends the biological link between parents and children. In the future, parenting will just become a contract between two people; the gender roles of a mom and a dad will be irrelevant. This violates the right of the child to know their biological mother and father.
There are also real long-term economic consequences to the breakdown of traditional marriage. Such costs include dependency of children on government services like Medicaid, increases in substance abuse, and an escalation of juvenile delinquency. These costs in New Hampshire have been conservatively calculated to be nearly $100 million a year and, nationally, the cost is $100 billion a year or $1 trillion over a decade.
Cornerstone is disappointed that these consequences of genderless marriage were not given their full consideration. Yet, this vote does not change the fundamentals of marriage anymore than a law that bans the force of gravity. Cornerstone will continue to bring the good news about genuine marriage between one man and one woman to any public discussion.
THE INHUMAN PRACTICE OF LATE-TERM ABORTION
THE WOMEN'S RIGHT TO KNOW BILL WILL MOVE ON TO THE SENATE
Informed medical consent is every woman's right - unless, in New Hampshire, she is contemplating abortion. Cornerstone congratulates the members of the New Hampshire House who voted yesterday to rectify that dangerous, ridiculous situation by supporting The Women's Right to Know bill, HB 1659. Women considering abortion don't need to be patronized. With accurate information, choice has real meaning. Opposition to informed consent for abortion is troubling, particularly when such consent is routine for other procedures. No abortion provider's routine or business model can possibly be more important then a patient's right to know the facts about a decision she needs to make. Pro-choice senators and Governor Lynch would do well to consider that informed consent is no threat to Roe v. Wade. If it were, then twenty years of informed consent laws in various states since the Casey decision would have brought down Roe by now. Instead, in thirty-one other states, abortion remains legal while informed consent laws are in effect. The Women's Right to Know bill still has a long way to go here, but we're gratified at the progress it made yesterday.
Cornerstone is also grateful to the New Hampshire House members who voted yesterday to shut the door on an inhumane late-term abortion procedure that blurs the line between abortion and infanticide. Partial-birth abortion is gruesome, requiring the partial delivery of the fetus before it is killed, and it is dangerous to women as well. Keeping this barbarity outside our borders is a good decision. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that abortion rights are safe even if the partial-birth abortion procedure is outlawed, since other abortion methods are available. Pro-life and pro-choice New Hampshire residents should be able to agree on this one. To those who claim the law is unnecessary because no one in NH performs the procedure, we reply that we are skeptical about that, since no reliable statistics exist about late-term abortion in New Hampshire (or early-term abortions, for that matter). HB 1679 is simply a civilized act to adopt.
CONCORD, NH, 3/7/12 - Cornerstone Action endorses two pro-life bills expected to be voted on by the New Hampshire House this week.
House Bill 1659, the Women’s Right to Know Act, will finally put women’s health on a par in the eyes of the law with the right to choose abortion. Thirteen co-sponsors signed on to this carefully-drafted bill that will require abortion providers to get documented informed consent from a patient before an abortion takes place. Far from attacking Roe v. Wade, the Women’s Right to Know bill is consistent with U.S. Supreme Court rulings dating back twenty years to the Casey decision.
House Bill 1679 would make partial-birth abortion illegal in New Hampshire. This late-term procedure, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being put to death, is barbaric and unnecessary. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a federal partial-birth abortion ban. A federal Administration could decide not to enforce the federal ban, making a state-level law desirable. With other abortion methods available, and in view of the fact that partial-birth blurs the line between abortion and infanticide, New Hampshire has an interest in preventing this procedure from gaining any traction in this state.
Opponents of a partial-birth ban claimed during a hearing on the bill that such procedures are not performed in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, that cannot be verified, since the state does not require reporting on methods used by abortion providers.
Informed consent has not impaired the practice of medicine with respect to other procedures, so the Women’s Right to Know bill should pose no problem for health care providers who are genuinely concerned with women’s health.
Under both bills, a woman’s right to choose abortion is protected. The bills were drafted with the assistance of experts in constitutional law, and neither bill seeks to pick a fight with the Supreme Court. New Hampshire’s abortion providers work virtually without regulation. In fact, under Roe v. Wade, numerous reasonable regulations with respect to women’s health and safety are permitted, and many states have enacted legislation accordingly. We welcome these efforts to move New Hampshire’s laws into the 21st century with respect to women’s health and abortion.
Cornerstone-Action is the legislative and issue advocacy arm of Cornerstone Policy Research. Cornerstone Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit education and research organization dedicated to the preservation of strong families, limited government and free markets.