The following document was refused publication by the Columbus Dispatch.

COLUMBUS, OH George Voinovich crossed the line of integrity with his false allegations against Issue 3 in his Saturday Dispatch editorial. I will address a few of his outright lies:

Voinovich claimed that only casino owners will benefit from the program and told us that 61% of the slot machine revenues will go directly to casino owners. This is untrue: although 55% of the revenues will go to the casinos, this money includes the salaries, benefits, unemployment and workman’s compensation-all money that goes directly back to the people. If passed, this bill will directly create over 56,000 permanent, benefits-paid new jobs, not to mention all of the construction costs to build new facilities, new hotels and restaurants and all the jobs that will come along with those. Voinovich also allocates “6% to owner’s track purses”; this is deliberately misleading. The bill ensures that 6% of the revenues are going to be used to increase winner’s purses, money that goes directly back to the people. This clause is included to protect Ohio’s proud horseracing legacy, an industry in severe decline due to Ohio’s troubled economy, which may have something to do with the Ohio governing administration’s failed economic policies. The track owners do not get that money.

Mr. Voinovich also claims that “Cleveland and Cuyahoga County will get the lion’s share of the funding…” Lie. The casinos will not receive any state funding, contrary to his implication. Rather, the casinos are the folks providing significant amounts of funding to our students through the Ohio Board of Regents. (Issue 3 was originally conceptualized by them, but they have clammed up on the issue due to pressure applied by strong-arm politicians like Voinovich.) Perhaps Cleveland, with two venues and a total of 7,000 slot machines, will provide a “lion’s share of funding”.

No one but Voinovich and his cronies disagree with the revenue projections; the strongest opponents of the amendment agree that the projections are likely accurate. As you may have read in the Dispatch last week, Iowa created 350, 000 jobs and raised 3.1 billion dollars through slot machines the first year they allowed them. All of our neighboring states have legalized limited slot machine gaming, and none of them have experienced dramatic increases in increased crime, suicide, divorce, bankruptcy, or any of the other “social costs” Senator Voinovich mentions. And as far as gambling addiction is concerned, we are currently a state that permits many kinds of gambling (i.e. the lottery, bingo, and racetrack gaming) but the State of Ohio only spends $300,000 annually on gambling addiction services. If Issue 3 passes in November, 1% of the slot machines intake is going to be constitutionally dedicated to gambling addiction services, to the tune of $28.4 million dollars a year, making us #1 in the country, ahead of both Nevada and New Jersey.

So why the lies?

One could speculate that changing the constitution on an issue voted down by the legislature could ruffle some political feathers; two years ago, proposed legislation allowing slot machine gambling passed the Senate but was shut down by the House of Representatives. We are telling Ohio legislatures that they have failed our children and our economy, and that we won’t stand for it any longer.