Gambling Rights In Focus

Publish: 09.08.2018

The Republicans are getting ready for the primaries and their final debate before their big leap focused on casinos, taxes, and tolls, along with gun violence. During an hour-long debate on Wednesday afternoon, the candidates of the Republican party- Tim Herbst, David Stemerman, Steve Obsitnik, Bob Stefanowski and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton came together to express their views on a variety of issues. The votes will be cast on Tuesday, August 14.

Talking about the future of gambling and sports betting in the state, Stemerman said that he would like to work with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to solve all problems related to the industry. Some people believe that gambling could be a game-changer for the state, bringing millions of dollars in revenue.

However, Stefanowski said that gambling would not do anything significant for the state. State income tax brought over $10 billion to their coffers in the last fiscal year. The total expected revenue generation from the two tribes after the MGM casino opens in Springfield later this month will only be about $200 million.

Clearly, Stefanowski is against the use of tribal land for casino activities by other players suggesting that it isn’t as huge an opportunity as it is being projected.

The five candidates also talked about gun violence. All five agreed in a largely civil debate that there should be no further state regulations on untraceable and 3D printable guns in Connecticut and the only Federal law shall apply.  The state legislature briefly considered banning ghost guns but never voted on the ban. The state also sought a temporary injunction against a Texas citizen who was planning to offer blueprints for creating ghost guns online.

On the subject of taxes, Stefanowski looked forward to abolishing state income tax over a period of 8 years. He said that the economy of the state has been sluggish ever since the tax was introduced in 1991. He was joined by Boughton, who has been calling for the elimination of the state income tax for the past decade. He described the state’s economic growth since the tax ‘anemic.’

Obsitnik had a different opinion and said that the state could not afford to lose all the entire income tax. There could only be targeted tax cuts. Stemerman believes that the state must first look into its unfunded liabilities running into billions of dollars, which includes pensions for state employees and take steps to mitigate the budget deficits.