BOSTON (CBS) — Jon Keller took a deep dive into what’s taking place on Beacon Hill with State House News Service reporters Katie Lannan and Matt Murphy.
Just weeks before the grand opening, Wynn Resorts and MGM International admitted they were discussing the sale of the Everett Encore Casino. Before that, Wynn Resorts had said they may delay the casino’s opening.
“We’re really in uncharted territory here, it’s only the second full-scale casino in the state and the first to face all this legal intrigue,” said Lannan. “One thing we do know for sure is that there’s a lot of jobs on the line.”
Murphy commented that is unclear whether the possible delay is about the hiring process or about the $35 million fine that was slapped on the casino after executives failed to disclose years of allegations of sexual misconduct against company founder Steve Wynn.
He added, “I think at this point we’ve seen [lawmakers on Beacon Hill] are very content to leave this in the gaming commission’s lap. I don’t think they really want to touch this at this point and probably won’t unless they get forced to.”
Lannan said, “I think it’s worth noting too that the state budget that the House has passed and the Senate will be debating in just a few days counts on revenue from Encore — there’s 300 million almost in casino and gaming revenues in there and that includes money from this yet to open Everett casino.”
Keller @ Large: Part 2
Broad-based tax hikes are always a topic of conversation on Beacon Hill.
“You’ve got kind of a consensus that revenue, that new taxes need to be explored. We’ve heard from legislative leaders, Speaker DeLeo that everything is on the table, but what that everything is still a little murky,” said Lannan.
According to Murphy, Gov. Charlie Baker is uninterested in increasing taxes, even in the name of improving the MBTA. “He keeps talking about his $8 billion capital plan for the MBTA, this is longterm borrowing over the next five years. He says it’s the most ambitious spending that’s ever been done at the T in that short of timespan but legislators aren’t really buying it. It doesn’t seem like there aren’t going to be new revenues needed,” he said.
One possibility? The gas tax.
Murphy continued, “What I’ve started to hear is that you’ll see the Senate after next week’s budget debate really turn their focus to try and get an education funding reform plan done, that’s going to require perhaps the new revenue to pay for all that additional spending. If that can get done before the summer recess, maybe you see them turn to a transportation package in the fall.”