Ohio may gamble to fill budget shortfall
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REINTA JABLONSKI: California isn’t the only state facing budget woes. Ohio needs to plug a $3 billion gap. The state couldn’t pass a budget before the start of the fiscal year. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports on one sticking point.
ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland has always been against gambling. But the state’s budget shortfall has forced him to re-think his position. His plan would introduce slot machines at Ohio’s horse racetracks. He believes gambling could bring in more than $900 million in revenue during the next two years.
James Brock is a professor of finance at Miami University in Ohio. He says the state’s evaporating tax revenues are one reason to try this. And there’s another one:
JAMES BROCK: Over recent years more and more of the states bordering Ohio have legalized gambling and so the feeling seems to be that, well people in Ohio are gambling, they’re just gambling next door, why don’t we let ’em gamble at home and keep that money here.
Brock says the issue has been put on the ballot before, but the majority of voters rejected legalizing gambling. Tight times may have caused a change of heart. A recent University of Cincinnati poll found 60 percent of Ohioans supported the move.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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