pan-for-goldWho wants more gambling in Texas?

September 27, 2011 | Blog

Last week we wrote about Todd Hunter and his platform of capitulating to teachers unions and expanding gambling in Texas. His position on gambling is troubling because we know Texans only stand to gain bigger bureaucracy via increased social service costs and higher law enforcement costs if gambling is expanded. This is the ugly truth about new gambling “revenues” – they’re always smaller than advertised and they create huge government costs. Texans panning for revenue gold who find gambling have only found fool’s gold.

Texans would lose with gambling; who would win?

Since the group “Win for Texas” was the most vocal gambling front group during the 2011 legislative session we examined their connections.

Win for Texas, like other misleading political websites, does not publish a list of employees or board members. There are a couple of names on the site that tip off conservatives. Michael Lavigne is a spokesperson for Win for Texas and is the former Executive Director for the Democrat Party of Texas.

Think of the entire political platform that will be empowered if Texans create new gambling fortunes for people like this.

On that note, “Texans for Economic Development” is a gambling interest front group that has helped fund challenges to conservative Republican candidates in favor of pro-gambling moderates. For instance, in 2008 they helped fund primary challenges to stalwart conservatives Phil King Betty Brown and Nathan Macias. Macias lost his race to Doug Miller. Betty Brown staved off defeat in 2008 but, weakened, lost to a moderate challenger in Lance Gooden in 2010.

Gooden, a Republican from Terrell, locked arms with Democrat Senator Chuy Hinojosa at a Win for Texas rally while Hinojosa played gambling cheerleader. Other gambling allies present were Republican Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio and President of Texas Association of Business Bill Hammond.

The TAB is a helpful tool for liberals hoping for higher taxes and more government. They represent politically active business interests. Their business interests are often, but not always, in the interests of average Texans and free markets. This session TAB stood with other special interest groups using children and teachers as shields for all anxious beneficiaries of the Texas budget. Sure enough, waste and fraud wasn’t even searched for this session, while students and teachers dominated the entire discussion.

Win for Texas' website being developed by NetVictories provides more information about this political sphere of influence. NetVictories was founded by Celinda Provost who spent time working for a long list of Democrats including Gov. Ann Richards, Sen. Kirk Watson, Rep. Mark Strama, Rep. Allen Ritter and Rep Pete Gallego. Provost and NetVictories service exclusively liberal causes.

Finally, Retama Park, the horse racing track in San Antonio owned by Speaker Joe Straus’ family is a supporter of Win for Texas. The Straus’ stand to gain every time gambling is expanded. Currently, consultants with Speaker ties are targeting conservatives who stand in the way of expanding gambling in Texas, very likely setting up another gambling play 2013.

Gambling expansion doesn’t help Texans. It helps cronies. Laws that guard the status quo in any market are the definition of crony capitalism. Texas gambling gives cronies a constitutional fence around their market. Expanded gambling will simply expand the political budgets of liberal groups like Win for Texas, liberal consultants like NetVictories and liberal lawmakers like Todd Hunter.

Daniel Greer

Daniel Greer is Executive Director of AgendaWise. Previously, Daniel worked for Empower Texans, a non-profit direct advocacy group focused on fiscal policy in Texas. He holds a B.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. A native Texan, Daniel is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and lives in Bastrop County with his wife Karen, their children Griffin and Julian, Willa Lou. You can reach him at [email protected]