Latest News on Proposition A
10/12/08 TO 10/18/08

Area superintendents weigh in on Proposition A

MO - Proposition A is named the "Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Funding Initiative," but five local superintendents are deeming it a misnomer. "I think it's all about gaming. I think they're trying to pass it on the back by saying it's good for kids," said Jackson School District superintendent Dr. Ron Anderson. All the superintendents interviewed said they would welcome the extra money but remained skeptical about the proposition's true intent and current revenue projections. About a fifth of Missouri districts, including St. Louis, wouldn't receive any funding through Proposition A next year or potentially beyond. "In these tough economic times, people would have to lose over $2 billion to hit estimates," he said. Silvera (No on A Executive Director) mainly objects to ideas that the Proposition A fund would be immune to tampering and he worries the funding would be subject to a "shell game." / Southeast Missourian / By Lindy Bavolek / October 14, 2008

Bond issue supporters battle Prop A confusion

MO - Planning to vote on Proposition A? Read carefully. Voters in the Wentzville School District will find two proposals titled "Proposition A" on the Nov. 4 ballot. The two are unrelated. One, from the Wentzville School District, asks for approval of a $52.6 million bond issue for school construction and improvements. The other, proposed by the state, would repeal Missouri's individual maximum loss limit for gambling, restrict the number of casinos built in Missouri, Rich Chrismer, county elections director, said it's not uncommon to have two propositions with identical titles. / By Jami Defenbaugh / October 18, 2008

Busy day for Judge Callahan

MO - Then Callahan (Circuit Judge) spent the afternoon hearing arguments against the gambling proposal on next month's ballot. Opponents say it covers too many subjects to be constitutional. / By Virginia Young / 10.16.2008

Casino blunder (Part II)

MO - Treating new Prop. A tax dollars differently than all other casino tax dollars was a political miscalculation that set up the casino industry for public suspicion that something _ but who knows what? _ is fishy with Prop. A. But Prop. A does tinker with the Formula and affect the flow and timing of those funds. And, sadly, perception is reality. And now the anti-gambling "No on A" committee has jumped all over that perception. / by Rick Alm / October 14, 2008

Casino measure raises questions

MO - Proposition A, also called "The Schools First Initiative," will be on the ballot Nov. 4 and aims to scrap Missouri's $500 loss limit -- the last regulation of its kind in the country -- to increase funds for casinos and schools. - Increase casino gaming tax rate from 20 to 21 percent. - Eliminate gambling identification cards that track player losses. Currently, visitors to Missouri's casinos have to get an identification card to track their losses for every two-hour "excursion." - Create a fund for school money that would be audited annually. - Limit the number of casinos to 13. Many schools would see no increase at all, said Evelio Silvera, president of Casino Watch, and it is not a solution for those who will. DESE projects that 113 of 523 districts will not receive any increase from Prop A. For the rest, it means a 2.3 percentage increase. Missouri's casinos are doing just fine with the loss limit, he said. On Monday, Sen. John Loudon, R-7, issued a news release decrying Prop A supporters' use of "mystery math" and pointing to the DESE projection of $54.8 million. "The gambling companies' projections are a myth," Loudon said. So why the vast difference between the DESE projection, $54.8 million, and the auditor's range, $105 million to $130 million? Two words: Funding formula. Superintendent Jeremy Tucker is cautious. He feels there is an ambiguity about the bill and how much funding would increase. He would prefer more direct funding from legislation into the school funding formula. Superintendent Doug Hayter said "from a school finance perspective, I'm in favor of anything we can do to increase funds." Superintendent Vern Minor has concerns that the passing of Prop A might not mean more overall money for schools. Superintendent Kent Medlin is frustrated by what he considers to be the ambiguity of the proposition's goals and said voters deserve a more straightforward message. Superintendent Steve Kleinsmith said the projected increase could help them hire eight new teachers. But Kleinsmith doesn't trust the projections... / News-Leader / Gregory Trotter / October 18, 2008

Casino, medical, energy votes await

MO - Proposition A, also referred to as the School's First Initiative, is a citizen-petitioned initiative that seeks to update regulations and increase the taxes and fees paid by Missouri's casinos. One stipulation of the measure is to cap the number of new casino licenses. This could make or break the plans of a new casino in Cape Girardeau. A halt on new casino licenses has already been ordered by the Missouri Gaming Commission while Proposition A is pending, and if the initiative is passed, the development of a Cape Girardeau casino will not go through. Supporters say repealing this law would raise additional money for state funds, but opponents say it will increase crime and further gambling addiction. / Cherish West / 10/17/08

Casinos ante up big in loss-limits push

MO - So far this year, the Yes on A Coaltion has raised $14 million, from Ameristar, Pinnacle and a small amount from the Missouri Gaming Association. As of Sept. 30, it had spent $9.2 million and has been running TV and billboard ads in the St. Louis market. / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / By Tim Logan / 10.15.2008

Casinos ante up big in loss-limits push

MO - Two of the region's biggest casino companies have poured $11.6 million since July into an effort to end Missouri's $500 casino loss limit policy, according to campaign finance reports filed today. The measure would end Missouri's only-in-the-nation loss limit and card requirement, / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / By Tim Logan / 10.15.2008

Casinos blundered on Prop. A

MO - It is an article of faith in electoral politics that a confused voter is a "no" voter. And the casino industry's Yes on A Coalition that seeks to repeal the state's $500 loss limit on gamblers has blundered into confusing voters. In Missouri politics no subject may be more confusing than the Foundation Formula that allocates state aid to public schools. All casino, lottery and bingo taxes funnel through the formula to public schools. Those gambling tax dollars currently make up about 9 percent of total state education funding. Such extraordinary special treatment was devised to counter a widely held myth that Missouri politicians annually back out other state tax dollars from the school funding budget and replace that money with casino tax dollars. Critics who oppose expansion of gambling in the state are now jumping all over that confusion, lambasting Proposition A as a measure that will "hold hostage the education of innocent children." / by Rick Alm / October 13, 2008

Change on gambling dangerous to people

MO - If passed, it (Prop A) would repeal the gambling loss limit, and prohibit any future loss limits. I applaud our elected representatives and senators in Missouri who have refused over the years to eliminate the limit on gambling losses. / June Stetson / October 16, 2008

Critics: Mo. casino measure will 'log roll' voters

MO - A Cape Girardeau businessman, a state lawmaker and gambling critics each argue in a lawsuit that the casino ballot initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot illegally mixes multiple subjects. Attorney C. Robert Buckley, representing some of the measure's opponents, argued during a hearing Wednesday that the ballot item is an attempt to "logroll" voters by getting them to approve the casino provisions because they like some parts, even though they likely oppose others. Buckley said courts in the past have said blocking "logrolling" is one of the reasons that multiple ideas cannot be linked together under one ballot measure or one piece of legislation approved by lawmakers. / Associated Press / By CHRIS BLANK / 10.16.08

Critics: Mo. casino measure will 'log roll' voters

MO - Some Missourians have already started voting on it, but critics of a casino ballot measure asked a state judge Wednesday to remove it from this year's ballot. The challenge to the casino measure was initially filed in August as two separate lawsuits by gambling critics and casino supporters. David Knight, of Cape Girardeau, and Rep. Ray Salva, D-Sugar Creek, filed one of the lawsuits and have tried to get casinos into their communities. The other lawsuit was filed by two St. Louis area residents who are backed by the anti-casino group Casino Watch. / Associated Press / By CHRIS BLANK / 10.16.08

Eliminating Casino Loss Limit Could Spell Gains For Public Schools

MO - One of the more controversial ballot issues state voters will decide Nov. 4 is Proposition A which would end $500 gambling limits at casinos. Supporters say it will bring needed revenue to schools. Opponents say those claims are false. "Proposition A can only raise $100 million in new revenue for the state, if Missourians lose over $2 billion next year alone," added Silvera. "Regardless of your position on gambling, this is the worst possible time to make losers of the people of Missouri." Casino Watch cites information gathered by Missouri Joint Committee on Education and the state Senate Minority Caucus, who argue that as many as half of Missouri schools would not receive any money at all and only 19 cents of every dollar would go to the few eligible schools. According to Silvera, this is because Proposition A does not give the money directly to the school districts, but instead filters it through the funding formula leaving $81 million dollars unaccounted for. / by Don Corrigan / 10/17/2008

Follow the money: Vote no on Prop A

MO - Isn't it strange that the casino industry would seek to impose an additional 1 percent tax on its own earnings? Not if it stands to benefit by millions, perhaps billions, by removing the $500 loss limit. It is reported that Ameristar and Pinnacle have poured more than $6 million into the Prop A campaign, a campaign that appears to be educator-driven. But all one has to do is follow the money. It also is reported that half of Missouri's schools will not see a dime of this money. This is 1994 dEej. vu and deception! This is not economic development but economic disaster for our communities. Statistics show that casinos bring an overall negative economic impact. If Prop A passes, Missourians can lose even more money, Missouri families can be even more financially devastated by a problem gambler, unlimited money now could be laundered and gambler-monitoring mechanisms would go out the window. Voters should see that it is not the schools that will benefit; it is the casinos that will follow the money, all the way to the bank. Dan Hite | Wentzville... / Dan Hite / 10/15/2008

Gambling industry offersonly a poisoned apple

MO - Don't bite the casino hag's poisoned apple! Proposition A is a farce. As director of the Mehlville Board of Education, Casino bosses are preying on unsuspecting Missourians' lack of relevant information. / Karl Frank Jr. / 10/17/2008

Group challenges casino measure

MO - A measure pushed by the casino industry should be thrown off the Nov. 4 ballot because it combines too many subjects, opponents told a judge on Wednesday. At issue was Proposition A, which casinos have dubbed the "Schools First" initiative. Two gambling companies - Ameristar Casinos Inc. and Pinnacle Entertainment - turned in the initiative petitions that put the proposal on the ballot. / ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH / By Virginia Young / 10/16/2008

Hearing today in Jefferson City on Proposition A

MO - David Knight, owner of Old Hickory Pits in Cape Girardeau, has joined forces with Rep. Ray Salva, D-Independence, and the anti-gambling group Casino Watch in an attempt to force Proposition A off the Nov. 4 ballot. They raised issues that include a constitutional question of whether the proposal covers too many subjects... / Southeast Missourian / By Rudi Keller / October 15, 2008

Lawsuit challenges propriety of gambling ballot initiative

MO - Rep. Ray Salva, D-Jackson County, and David Knight, a southeast Missouri businessman, have sued the offices of secretary of state and state auditor on the grounds that an electoral ballot issue contains multiple subjects, violating the single-subject provision in the state constitution. / BY Valerie Insinna / October 15, 2008

Limiting Missouri Casinos

MO - A controversial item known as Proposition A will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot in Missouri. Supporters have gambled $16 million in advertising on the November ballot. The proposition would also eliminate Missouri's $500 loss limit on losing players, and would limit the number of casinos statewide to 13. / Lisa Russell / October 13, 2008

Measure would restrict casinos

MO - I am voting no on Missouri Proposition A for gambling reform, because it will restrict the number of casinos to those already built or being built. / Mack Tilton / October 17, 2008

Missouri Ballot Issues: Proposition A

MO - Evelio Silvera, Casino Watch says, "Now is not the time to be deregulating the gambling industry, removing the 500 dollar loss limit and then urging Missourians to lose and additional 500 million dollars next year." / By Kyle Bosch / Oct 17, 2008

Mixed reactions for gambling measure

MO - "I've got mixed emotions," said Brent Blevins, Forsyth School District Superintendent, who said any time additional funds are sent to schools is good, but doesn't believe the amount will be that great. "I'm not convinced it actually is going to be that big of a benefit to schools," he said. Taneyville School District Superintendent Tim Crawley said he also has mixed feelings about the proposition. Reeds Spring School District Superintendent Michael Mason said casinos have an ulterior motive for pushing the initiative, and he doesn't believe it is to send more funds to schools. / BDN / By Mindy Honey / October 14, 2008

Mo. Prop A Would Repeal Casino Loss Limits

MO - If the measure passes, not all school districts will share the money. According to the Missouri Department of Education, most will see an increase in funding, but the majority of districts around Kansas City won't see any. The district is already at the top of the funding formula. / October 16, 2008

Prop A boosts schools

MO - In an interesting twist, opponents of casino gambling and proponents of its expansion both want you to vote "no" on Proposition A on the Missouri general election ballot. Also, it's worth noting that no other state has a similar "loss limit" regulation. The Missouri Gaming Commission itself has said there is no evidence that the loss limit is a deterrent to compulsive gambling. / October 14, 2008

Proposition A affects casinos, school funding

MO - Heavily supported by the gambling industry, the proposition would, among other things, remove Missouri's gambling loss limit. This limit was passed into law in 1992 in the same legislation that began riverboat casino operations in the state. It prevents casino patrons from buying more than $500 in chips or tokens in a two-hour time period. Missouri is also the only state in the country with a loss limit. Efforts to repeal the limit have been proposed in state legislation almost every year since its inception, though none have passed. Loudon (State Senator) said this is a "trick" by casinos. "Of course the existing casinos want a cap," he said. "Not only do they want more millions, but they want to close the barn door behind them so they don't have to share the wealth. / By Emily Griffeth / October 17, 2008

Proposition A estimate

MO - 119 counties in the state will receive no increase in state funding from Proposition A in the 2010 budget, while the rest will receive an average of a 1.77% increase. SOURCE : Missouri Department Of Elementary And Secondary Education... / 10-18-08

Proposition A opponents challenge ballot wording

MO - Proposition A is the most significant revision of the state's gaming law in over two decades. But Missouri State Representative Ray Salva of Kansas City say the Secretary of State approved ballot language that is not true and not accurate, focusing voters' attention on the funding benefits and not the gaming changes. / By Mallory McGowin / October 15, 2008

Proposition A won't send extra money to most EJC school districts

MO - Independence School District Superintendent Jim Hinson believes there is a lot of confusion regarding Proposition A, a ballot measure that is being called the "Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Funding Initiative." "I think it is very confusing for the general public," he said. "I am disappointed in the advertisements about the issue because patrons are going to think there will be an infusion of new money, which there won't be." / The Examiner / By Kelly Evenson / Oct 13, 2008

Sunday editorial: No on Proposition A

MO - Anyone who loses $500 in a casino in less than two hours ought to stop and think about it. Missouri's $500 loss limit ensures that they do. On Nov. 4, Missouri voters will be asked to remove that limit; if they do, gamblers would be able to lose unlimited amounts as quickly as possible. The result, we fear, would be ruin for many more Missouri gamblers and their families. We recommend voting No on Proposition A. There is nothing painless about the human cost of gambling. Several academic studies have found higher bankruptcy rates in areas with casinos. Other studies have linked gambling with suicide. A study of members of Gamblers Anonymous found that 13 percent had tried to kill themselves and as many as 50 percent said that had thought about it. Voters should reject Proposition A. / By Editorial Board / 10.17.2008

The Statewide Ballot Propositions

MO - We should vote "No" on the casino gambling Proposition A for at least three reasons: 1. If passed, Proposition A would repeal the current loss limits. 2. A second reason to vote against the casino gambling proposition is that it would prohibit any future loss limits. 3. Finally, the casino gambling proposition would limit casinos to those already built or being built. This would no more casinos. / Richard Charles Tolbert / 10/17/2008