The Texas Legislature will meet in a few short weeks and its biggest challenge will be to pass a balanced budget that is currently projected to have a $24 Billion shortfall. The new very Republican Lege isn’t going to be eager to increase taxes, and there isn’t a lot of fat to cut in the current budget. One would think that gambling revenues would be looked at as fruit ready for picking. Ain’t so.
But The News found that the incoming GOP-dominated Legislature presents a daunting obstacle.
In the House, 115 of the 150 members responded to the gambling question, with 54 saying they would not support its expansion in any form. Only 27 said they favored doing so, and 26 said they were undecided. The rest who were reached declined to comment.
Because of the two-thirds mandate for constitutional amendments, 51 “no” votes would kill the proposal in the House.
Charles Kuffner sums it all up pretty well:
I know I’ve beaten this horse many times, but it bears repeating. Gambling expansion is a tough sell, which is why it hasn’t happened after all this time. It’s certainly possible, as suggested by gambling lobbyists and State Sen. Jeff Wentworth elsewhere in the story, that some legislators who are currently opposed to expanded gambling might reconsider once they see what a cut-only budget approach begins to look like. This assumes that they will recoil from such a realization, and I at least am not prepared to make that assumption. I say it’s doomed, and I don’t see any reason to change that assessment.