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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pataki Goes to the Whip

With New York losing nearly $3 million a day, Gov. George Pataki Feb. 15 told legislative leaders he wants a quick resolution to a dispute that has kept casino operations from opening at Aqueduct and Yonkers racetracks. [Bloodhorse]
Thus, the Governor, who has not presided over an on-time budget in his ten years in office, has ordered the dysfunctional NY State Legislature to giddy-up and get the VLT money moving in NY. A court decision declaring that the sharing of slots revenue with the tracks for purses is unconstitutional under current state law needs to be addressed legislatively, but this, like most other bills, has gone nowhere thus far. With the state Assembly and Senate in solid Democratic and Republican control respectively, gridlock is the rule in the state legislature.

What has Pataki suddenly chomping at the bit? Perhaps it’s yesterday’s decision by a state judge affirming that New York City schools are due an additional $5.6 billion to guarantee basic educational needs for its students, plus another $9.2 billion on capitol improvements? With the state already facing a budget deficit, my worry is that VLT’s will not stop at the racetracks. In fact, the governor has proposed up to 5 stand alone locations for VLT’s in New York City alone, which would render Aqueduct’s and Yonkers' virtually meaningless for millions of potential city customers.