HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:   $100 Million for Casinos During Tight Budget Year?  Tomblin and the Legislative Leaders are Sold Out

All we hear from our state's leaders revolves around how tight the state budget is.  That's easy to believe: after all, we're in the middle of a recession and the Obama Administration's EPA seems intent on killing our largest traditional industry, coal. 

So what a shock for us all when we learned at the end of the past legislative session that Acting Governor Tomblin and the legislative leaders had somehow found $100 million dollars over the next several years to give to the state's casinos!  What was this largesse needed for, you might ask?  Why to help the casinos purchase even better slot machines.

That's odd: we thought that it was a business's job, out of existing profits, to reinvest in their equipment.  Who knew that we now were on the Mussolini system, where government and the private sector had become as one?

But beyond all the talk of state-run businesses, maybe the real truth is that we have a state government who is being run by the casino industry.  Certainly, we have in Earl Ray Tomblin an Acting Governor who is well-acquainted with the gambling industry.  Don't forget, Tomblin made his millions off the backs of Southern West Virginians who became addicted to his slot machines before they became legal.  Back in those days, they were called "gray machines," and like all other gray machine pushers, Tomblin's Southern Amusement company no doubt maintained that they were for "entertainment only."

Right--and some men read "Playboy" just for the articles.

The irony now is that some of the same gambling addicts that Earl Ray took full advantage of years ago with his gray machine business are likely some of the same folks who are draining his state budget dry as welfare cases.   So while Tomblin the businessman made a killing off of gambling addiction, now Acting Governor Tomblin has to dig around for available funds to help these people get off their gambling addictions (that he helped to foster).  Or if they don't get off of their gambling addictions, how about some more welfare payments to sustain their ravaged families.  All at taxpayer expense.

Anyone want to bet, no pun intended, that some of those welfare payments go straight back into the now legal slot machines at the local convenience store or at one of the tracks?  Isn't it a wonderful recycling of our taxpayer money?

We've known some so-so Governors in our day here in West Virginia, but Tomblin may be the first to have caused some of the welfare problems that the taxpayers now have to pour their money into while he serves as the State's CEO. Earl Ray Tomblin has been part of the problem in this state's economy for years, as he is a representative sample of a gambling industry that has contributed nothing to the state but heartache, ripped up families, and...more welfare payments.

So naturally, when Tomblin's friends (and Kessler's friends, and apparently Thompson's friends) at the state's casinos came calling for a little payback for whatever favors they've done for them over the years, they were all so willing to oblige--with our tax dollars.

Thankfully, others are upset about it with us this year.  For example, State Senator Clark Barnes (R-Elkins), a leading contender for the Republican nomination for Governor, said recently at a Martinsburg Republican Women's function that we could have used that $100 million in taxpayer dollars for a real investment in our state's economy.  "Why not use that $100 million in infrastructure projects, like the deadliest road in West Virginia, Rt. 35?"

We here in Huntington might also suggest another Interstate-64 exit or two to give greater access to our area.  We're sure there are other highway projects around the state, any of which would be a better use of $100 milllion than a wet kiss for the casino industry.

If you want more of this waste of your taxpayers' money, just keep voting for those who are fall prostrate before their overlords in the casino industry.  That would be Tomblin, Kessler, and Speaker Thompson.  Like the gamblers they have helped to create, they just can't get enough of sucking up to the casino interests.  We can and must do better than that.