Should Gambling Profits Be Used to Fix Roads?

Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Democratic Party will ask voters in its June primary whether they would like the state to expand gambling as a way to raise money to fix the state's roads and bridges.

Question 2 on the Democratic primary ballot will say: The S.C. Department of Transportation estimates more than $20 billion is required to fix South Carolina's crumbling roads and bridges. Should gaming laws be modernized to fund the repairs instead of a tax increase?

The question doesn't specify how the gaming laws would be changed, but Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, House Minority Leader, says, "I don't think there's a big push to bring back video poker right now, but you can certainly look at casinos in Myrtle Beach. You can look at horse racing or betting on horses in Aiken and in Camden."

He says two or three casinos in Myrtle Beach would generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state in gaming licenses alone.

This will be an advisory referendum, so the vote will not change the state's gambling laws. But Rutherford says it's important for voters to let lawmakers know how they feel.

"Those people that oppose it on moral grounds, a) don't have to gamble. I don't gamble. But if you don't like it, don't do it. But also, if you don't like it, come out and vote no. That's what a referendum is about; it's about telling politicians what we think as citizens, rather than having the politicians tell us what to do," he says.

The first question on the Democratic primary ballot will ask whether voters think each state, not Congress, should decide for itself whether to allow online gaming and determine how to regulate online gaming in their state.

A third question will ask voters in the Democratic primary whether they think medical marijuana should be legalized for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician.

Republicans will have two of their own questions on their primary ballot. The first will ask voters whether they think the right to life should be extended to unborn children beginning at conception. The second asks whether voters think the state should gradually reduce the state income tax until it's eliminated.


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