Rome, NY Sucks

But At Least We're Not Utica

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Raw Deal

A generation after one Cuomo negotiated a bad deal with the Oneida Nation, another Cuomo is about to do the same.

The initial compact between Mario the Pious and Diamond Ray Halbritter essentially allowed the Oneida Nation to promote gambling on "their" land as a way to smooth over bad relations between certain Native American interests and the state. It was what the Church used to call an indulgence. Gambling is "bad," but it makes a lot of money and people like it. Since it is illegal for most of the state, it was a way to create monopolies advantageous to one group in a show of reparations.

The Oneidas used this to create an enormous mega casino, pay not taxes of any kind, sell untaxed tobacco, provide the lowest payouts in the East, buy up taxable land they insisted was tax free and sue homeowners for their land.

Part of my problem with this is jealousy. New York should operate like the Oneida Nation. Stop taxing cigarettes and casino winnings. Allow casinos in the rest of the state. Vernon Downs is scraping by with horse racing and video poker, which is not part of the compact and not allowed at the Turning Stone Casino.

The new deal will cement restrictions against state gambling and require an ill-defined payment (explicitly not a tax) from the Oneida Nation and the ending of land claims. The problem with a voluntary payment is the same as the non-payment of Sherill taxes problem. If the Oneidas decide not to pay the state at some point, what court has the power to take it?

This is a good deal for the Oneidas, of course. I notice Mrs. C's arcade was raided this week, located near Ray Halbritter's house. That must have pissed him off no end. I never played the arcade's "games of skill," but the skillful gamesman appears to be Halbritter himself. Make a deal with a politician whose days are numbered to get a free pass for decades to come.

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