A Quorum Report alert on Facebook caught my eye, and the Trib explained it further, which has Democratic House leader Jim Dunnam calling for an ad-hoc committee to study gambling as a means of prepping for the next legislative session.
Dunnam, in his letter to Reps. Larry Taylor, R-Galveston, Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, and Wayne Christian, R-Center, says gaming is among several options for lawmakers trying to fill an expected budget shortfall next year, and says the Legislature ought to be studying it before they meet in regular session next year. “The danger of this dynamic is that while the House does no research and holds no hearings on on this issue, various industry and interest groups and their lobbyists are mobilizing now in order to pass or resist a gambling expansion next session,” he wrote. “House members will be at a disadvantage if we do not do our homework in advance.”
Already, one Texas House candidate agrees that the Texas House must be open to discussing all paths to raising budget dollars, Joe Montemayor for Texas House District 127.
“I have said time and again that the Texas House must be open to studying various income generating proposals that do not hit taxpayers in the wallet, and an expansion of gambling in Texas must be at the top of the priority list,” said Montemayor, adding, “I am committed to finding solutions to the challenges faced by Texas school districts, and as we face a $15 billion budget shortfall that could drive our schools toward bankruptcy because of Rick Perry’s failed leadership, expanding gambling is one way that we may be able to close the budget gap.”
There’s no doubt that expanded gaming is something that should be discussed. Although DC has not been a big fan, I also understand the need for income-generating solutions that benefit other industries, in this case, tourism and entertainment, among others.