Todays Tacoma News Tribune has a great article about a new campaign to get the Legislature to provide permanent funding for treating Washington’s growing epidemic of compulsive gambling [New effort to treat gamblers.]
Great article… but…
It repeats the Lie of the Week:
“Eyman estimates that I-892 would provide $11.5 million a year for problem-gambling treatment, in addition to $400 million in property tax relief.”
If another newspaper repeats this lie, I am going to have an aneurism. Tim doesn’t even understand his own initiative! The real figure, based on Tim’s own revenue projections is only $4 million.
Again… this is not my opinion… it is simple math.
I-892 taxes the profit from slot machines at a rate of 35%. 99% of these tax dollars go to reduce the state property tax, and the other 1% goes to treat problem gambling.
Let’s forget for a moment that Tim’s estimate of $1.15 billion in profits is pulled out of his ass, without any supporting evidence. It is the figure that Eyman uses to calculate his promise of a $400 million tax cut, so it is our starting point.
$1.15 billion * .35 = $400 million in tax revenues. $400 million * .01 = $4 million to treat problem gambling, with the other $396 million going to reduce the property tax.
Is that really so hard?
At this point, some in the media might be rolling their eyes, thinking $4 million is still a lot money, so what’s the big deal? Well first… Eyman lies for a reason: it works. And second, that $4 million is pissing into the wind of the tornado of gambling that I-892 will bring down on our state.
As I’ve written before, the industry average payback on slot machines is 95%; that means Tim’s “estimate” of $1.15 billion in profits requires $23 billion in gross wagering.
That’s less than a penny to treat problem gambling, for every $57 million wagered. (Do the math yourself this time.)
Okay there’s the Lie of the Week. But before I finish my rant, I want to reiterate to the media why attributing Eyman’s “estimate” in quotes — or even including a rebuttal from me — doesn’t let you off the hook.
Eyman makes statements of fact that can easily be confirmed or refuted through a simple examination of the numbers in question. His oft repeated claims of a $400 million tax cut cannot possibly add up to $11.5 million to treat problem gambling, and can’t help but add up to $23 billion in gross wagering.
And it is the media’s responsibility to explain these numbers to the public, not mine.