Tuesday, May 30, 2006

158: “Your Help Urgently Needed”

Of all the issues listed in our agenda of GettysBLOG 153: “Kind Words and An Agenda”, we are comfortable that most of them are out in front of the public, and getting aired in the press sufficiently to put pressure on the General Assembly next week to take some serious actions towards reform, one of which should result in the changing of the guard in leadership. We know the Republicans will likely remove Brightbill, Jubelirer, and hopefully Perzel. We don’t know if the Democrats will have the spine to remove Veon, Fumo, DeWeese, et al, from their minority leadership and replace them with reform minded candidates.

We would love to see Representative Paul Clymer assume the Speaker’s position. We would also love to see Representative Harry Readshaw assume either the Floor Leader’s position, or the Minority Whip’s position. (Veon is so out of touch with the rest of the state!).

We need help on one very critical issue, however. Here’s the thing: Tad Decker, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board (PGCB) is very astute. He is in a great hurry to get licenses issued, ostensibly so the gambling money can begin flowing into the state’s coffers.

The real reason he is in a hurry is two-fold: he is getting heavy pressure from the Gambling Lobby to get the licenses issued so the slots can start generating income for the investors; and he knows he may have a limited time to get this done because of a potential for change in the political climate.

The PGCB is on the verge of issuing licenses to several casinos to be built at race tracks around the state. They are also on the verge of issuing licenses to slot machine suppliers, who will immediately begin amassing a stockpile of the slot machines for resale to the casinos as they get licensed.

After the recent Primary Election, the political climate in the Capitol Building in the next session, starting in January, will be a whole lot different than it has been in recent years. The reform movement is on. Many of the winners in the recent Primary have promised to repeal Act 71 which authorizes casino gambling in Pennsylvania.

There may be enough to do it. Failing that, there may be enough to roll back the casino locations to strictly at the tracks, with no free standing casinos.

The problem is this: once those licenses are issued, it may be impossible for the legislature to repeal, or roll back Act 71. In other words, the issuance of licenses will take the ability to make significant changes to Act 71 from the legislature.

The additional avenue to reforming gambling legislation is through the courts. Currently, there are several cases pending in State and Federal Court that would declare the Midnight Pay Raise from last summer unconstitutional. The ramifications of this are far reaching. Such a ruling could then be applied to the Gambling Bill, Act 71 of 2004, effectively erasing it and the PGCB. [There is a possibility it could also be applied to the 50% raise in retirement benefits the legislators voted themselves several years ago, and even to the most recent tax hike (2003?), if those bills were enacted in the same fashion as the pay raise and the gambling bill.)

But what happens if Act 71 gets repealed, rolled back, or declared unconstitutional after the PGCB issues licenses? Imagine David LeVan with a license and bulldozers on the ground here in Gettysburg, or Donald Trump in Philly, and they are legally able to build anything they want, as there will no longer be a PGCB, or any authority that can control him. What authority could stop them? They will have valid licenses issued under the law. New action cannot stop them. Even if the legislature were to pass a bill of repeal that also canceled all license issued by the PGCB under Act 71 of 2004, do you think people like LeVan and Trump would just fold their tents and walk away? If you do, "you're fired!"

More likely, the Donald, and the David would launch law suits against the Commonwealth seeking redress of a loss of business, seeking compensation in the billions of dollars. BILLION$!

Who pays that bill when it is presented to the Commonwealth?

You do. I do. We all do. For a very, very long time. Forget about property tax relief. Pennsylvania will be the most heavily taxed state in the Union.

Can we afford to take this chance?

Not on your life!

So, what do we do about it?

We, meaning you and I, and as many of your adult friends and family members you can reach, must start calling, and emailing your legislative representatives immediately, and demand a moratorium on the issuance of licenses by the PGCB.

We must call, and write, and go to see the Representatives and Senators in the General Assembly. We must call the radio talk shows and write to the editors of the newspapers.

We simply cannot afford to task the risk.

And so, we ask your help to mobilize and spread the word about this very real threat, and get in front of your legislator’s face and demand the protection they MUST provide to their constituents. And there must be enough to override a veto, for just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, your gambling money soaked governor will veto such a move. He knows what is at stake, and he owes his allegiance to the folks from Las Vegas, not to you.

Speed is of the essence. Please act on this immediately! You’ll be glad you did.


“Kick the hubris out of Harrisburg!” -- THE CENTRIST

Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" --GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” --GettysBLOG

Remember in November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

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