[Update: July 13, 2017: In light of the news that House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey is stepping down, I note the following:
- ML Strategies is a lobbying powerhouse on Beacon Hill. Its biggest client in 2016, to the tune of $276,579.23, was Wynn Resorts.
- The budget provision that could give casinos (including Wynn’s Everett casino) a big competitive advantage was included as part of the House Ways and Means budget. The Senate did not include such a provision.
- Today, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey resigned from the House to become the chief operating officer at ML Strategies.]
[Original post: July 7, 2017]
While we’re understandably fixated today on the craven capitulation of our president over in Hamburg, let us pause to recognize a nadir of submission reached right here in Massachusetts — in the annual budget released this morning.
Casino magnate Steve Wynn, the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and a friend and supporter of his fellow tycoon Donald Trump, has been busy lately twisting the arm of Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, one of the few Republican opponents of the Senate health care plan, to retract his opposition and get with the program. That health care plan, of course, would cost Massachusetts a billion dollars a year starting in 2020 (the year after Wynn’s Everett casino is scheduled to open). By 2025, the plan would have ruined our health care system and possibly our economy: a quarter-million of our poorest residents would have lost their health care coverage and annual costs would have nearly doubled.
Our state’s response? To amend our gambling law so that casinos could continue selling alcohol after the 2 a.m. closing time for bars and restaurants. A spokesperson for the House of Representatives, where the amendment originated, explained that we need to “ensure competitiveness,” a rationale that will come as a surprise to the hospitality industry establishments that will be trying to compete without the advantage of the late hours (or a slots barn).
Anyway, a nice kiss for Steve Wynn that leaves the rest of us wondering — whatever happened to this piece of advice from the current POTUS? “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it.”