BREAKING: N.H. House kills bill legalizing single casino
Rendering of Millennium Gaming's proposed casino at Rockingham Park in Salem, presented on Wednesday, May 08, 2013.
After months of debate and lobbying from all sides, the House voted 199-164 this afternoon to kill a bill legalizing a single casino.
Gov. Maggie Hassan, who campaigned on a plan to use casino revenue to restore deep cuts to state funding, issued a written statement saying she was disappointed with the vote. She warned that budget negotiations will become more difficult without the $80 million the bill would have brought in a license fee.
“I remain committed to working with the Legislature to finalize a balanced budget that restores the priorities that the people of New Hampshire support: job creation, higher education, economic development, strengthening our mental health system and protecting the health and well-being of our communities,” Hassan said. “Without passing (the casino bill), the path will be more difficult, but the people of New Hampshire expect us to do difficult things. We must work together to keep our state moving forward and to ensure a brighter, more innovative economic future for all Granite Staters.”
The senators who sponsored the bill had harsher words after the House vote.
“It is an absolute shame that this bi-partisan, carefully crafted piece of legislation has been rejected by the House,” read a statement from Sen. Churck Morse, a Salem Republican, and his two co-sponsors. The bill “would have created 1,500 new jobs, funded repairs for our roads and bridges and been a source of revenue for economic development in the North Country. This bill was our best chance in years to reap all of those benefits and the House closed the door. The House’s rejection of SB 152 is even more egregious when you consider that a majority of New Hampshire citizens, as well as Gov. Hassan, support casino gaming.”
The statement, also issued by Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat, and Sen. Jim Rausch, a Derry Republican, continued.
“In our opinion, it is now the duty of every single representative who voted against SB 152 to tell us exactly how he or she intends to find the new, non-tax revenues we need to create jobs, fix our infrastructure and help the North Country. The Senate has made it clear new taxes are totally unacceptable.”