Florida Lawmakers Listen To Economist Take On Seminole Gambling


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All of the background work that Governor Charlie Crist did back in late 2007 when he signed a gaming compact with the Seminole Indian tribe is now being done again by legislators. On Friday, they had their chance to listen to a local economist talk about figures provided by the Seminole tribe.

The tribe has told lawmakers that approving the compact would mean $4.5 billion and 45,000 jobs in the state. Those figures are representative of the new construction that would come with the compact.

Economist Amy Baker, however, warned the legislators on Friday to look more closely at the numbers. She claimed that the figures were inflated and did not take into account several different factors.

Among those factors was that jobs created could come at the expense of already existing work. She warned that the people the Seminoles hire may come from other gambling establishments such as the pari-mutuel tracks.

Baker also alerted lawmakers of her opinion that the money the Seminoles made would not be taxed under state law, and that it is money that people could be spending at other places that are taxed.

The problem for the state regarding the gaming compact could get much more complicated in the coming weeks. The House has said they might submit a completely different proposal from the one that is currently being discussed.

The time frame for a new deal is key. Governor Crist has proposed a budget that already includes potential revenue from the Seminole tribe. If the compact discussions fall through, it could lead to an even tighter budget than the one that has already been proposed.