Stupid Budget Tricks

I spent most of the morning writing a passionate response to Dave Meinert’s stupid proposal over on Publicola to solve our budget crisis by dramatically expanding tribal and commercial gambling in Washington state. And then at the last minute, I decided to send the post over to Slog, where it might get a larger audience and a more reasonable comment thread.

Anyway, read the whole thing.


  1. 1

    Xar spews:

    @Goldy: I understand that many threads on this site devolve into name-calling and inanity, but I’m not sure it’s a great idea to insult all of your readers . . .

    Just a thought!

  2. 3

    Xar spews:

    I don’t really think so. Which is why I find it odd that Goldy thinks he’s going to get a more reasonable comment thread over there . . .

  3. 4

    spyder spews:

    We can tax gamblin, but we can’t tax sody pop. Just what we need, a state where everyone, who doesn’t have disposable income, races to the nearest corner casino to hand over money to a state that doesn’t have sufficient revenue streams.

  4. 5

    Ms. Positive spews:

    Seems like it is time for the Governor to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Quite a budget mess she has created. I think taxing the Tribes should be her #1 project. After all, they benefit greatly from State Services and pay nothing.
    But I guess she owes them because of all the campaign contributions, just like she owes all the State Employees and their organization.
    Lots of sacred cows.

  5. 6

    headless lucy spews:

    re 5: Ms. HIV Positive. According to your conservative ideology, collecting taxes on a profitable business kills the enterprise and taxing away the Indians’ profits leaves less income to trickle down to the rest of us.

    Are you prejudiced against Indians?

  6. 7

    Xar spews:

    @5: I said this on an earlier thread, and you didn’t respond. So, again:

    “It’s hard to take you seriously when your first real suggestion for balancing the Washington budget requires violation of Federal law and the U.S. Constitution. Explain exactly how Washington can tax Indian tribes and casinos and then you might have a shred of credibility.”

  7. 8

    Queen Christine" I dont know where to go from here" spews:


    you are talking to two different people dipshit.

    If you dont think that the state has ways to get its hands on the profits from gambling casinos, then your head really is up your ass.

  8. 9

    ArtFart isn't ready to be classified as a "useless eater" spews:


    While we’re at it, we might as well be talking about Las Fucking Vegas, where things haven’t been going all that well lately either.

  9. 10

    LD spews:

    Try cutting some of the mid-management fat, Pensions, benefits, like the rest of the private sector has had to do to stay afloat.

    When a Ferry Boat cafe worker gets full benefits, pensions, vacations, holiday pay, food allowance, wages, sick leave etc etc etc. Its better to start farming out this and half of the guvment jobs to the private sector…Cut the crap

  10. 11

    YellowPup spews:

    I tried posting to Publicola and it kept crashing my browser.

    To me, Meinert’s proposal sounds like disaster capitalism, seizing the opportunity of a revenue crisis to push through something full of hidden costs that punish the poor for the sake of (low taxes for) the rich.

    Is it really a choice between embracing gambling and alcohol, and letting the schools go broke?

    He sounds a bit like Lyle Lanley. Calling his opposition old fashioned and moralistic does not make his idea innovative or progressive. It seems that there is a long history of cowardly state governments resorting to expanded gambling and sin taxes to make up for budget shortfalls. How many gambling states are currently facing bankruptcy?

  11. 12

    headless lucy spews:

    re 10: You talk as if pensions and health insurance are just comped to workers. The fact is, they pay for it.

    You might want to do a little investigation into what has actually happened to the pension funds THAT THE WORKERS PAID INTO — but all of the money somehow disappeared.

    The best thing for this economy would be for you and your ilk to get your heads screwed on straight — but you’ll have to get it out of your ass before that can happen.

  12. 14

    headless lucy spews:

    It’s just the same old tired crap that these conservo-nuts keep recycling over and over.

    It’s pitiful.

  13. 15

    Queen Christine" I dont know where to go from here" spews:


    which unions pension funds you talking about? I know more than a few that are in deep deep trouble.

  14. 16

    Xar spews:

    @8: No, actually, I’m not. My comment in the Seaquist thread was addressed to the person at 62, 63, & 64, i.e. Ms. Positive. My comment in this thread was addressed to comment 5, also Ms. Positive. Not sure where you’re coming from, but I’m not sure it’s my reality. Even if I’d made that kind of mistake, that doesn’t justify the ad hominem attack, or address the actual issue. Innuendo =/= evidence or logical argument, but you don’t appear to be particularly interested in either.

    On the off chance that you’re simply poorly educated on this subject and not just trolling (but not holding my breath):

    Are you familiar with the Supremacy Clause? Federal law preempts the state from touching tribal revenue (as they are, you know, sovereign nations, with treaties and everything). States have tried a variety of ways of getting at that revenue. If there were a way to do it without running afoul of Federal law, New York would have figured it out. God knows they’ve tried just about every way possible. Courts are pretty damn explicit about the limitation of state power over tribes and tribal commercial activity.

  15. 17

    lauramae spews:

    As for Ms. POS; apparently you never fucking took social studies. In your post@5, you contend that tribes have benefited greately from state services while paying nothing. Your pale ass is in this state, living on your property or that of your landlord BECAUSE the tribes voluntarily ceded various territories in exchange for maintaining certain rights they have always had which include tribal sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty is comparable to state sovereignty. If say, Idaho was in the budget shitter and decided that they wanted Washington state residents to bail their ass out of the fire, Washington would rightly say no. The tribes and the state are AT THE SAME GODDAMMED LEVEL and both are responsible for and protected by certain federal laws that keep other sovereign entities from things like A. stealing resources B. waging war C. Demanding money just cause.

    As for tribes not paying for state services, the exact same thing can be said for Boeing and Weyerhauser who benefit greatly from the public services they use to mow down our forests and get their goods and employees back and forth to work on our roadways. Boeing blackmails the state on a regular basis to maintain its corporate welfare perks in order to stay in the state.

    My guess is that the income this state gives up because of big corporate welfare makes potential taxable revenue from tribal gaming pale in comparison.

  16. 18

    Xar spews:

    @17: Actually, they’re not at the same level as states–they’re at the same level as foreign countries (with a few caveats). Tribes have greater immunities than states do with respect to other states’ actions.

    They’re considered sovereign nations, and thus deal only with the U.S. government (again, with a few caveats).

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 “Quite a budget mess she has created.”

    By “she” I assume you mean the Republican girly-men who tanked the economy.

  18. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 I know you cheap labor conservatives won’t be satisfied until everyone is working for third world wages, but after that happens, who’s going to buy the crap your businesses sell?

  19. 23

    your wife's pimp spews:

    I never quite understood the whole sovereign nations/indian tribes deal….seems like its full of inconsistencies.

    either be a nation, or dont….but this halfway shit is a joke.

  20. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 “Tribal sovereignty is comparable to state sovereignty.”

    This is technically incorrect. State sovereignty arises from the U.S. Constitution, which can be changed only by constitutional amendment, whereas tribal sovereignty arises from federal laws which can be changed by Congress at will. A treaty between a tribe and the federal government doesn’t have the same status as a treaty between the United States and a foreign country; it’s effectively an act of Congress that can be modified or repealed. That said, tribal-government relationships are generally federally preempted and that’s certainly the case with respect to tribal gaming, and with respect to state taxation on Indian reservations.

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @18 “Actually, they’re not at the same level as states–they’re at the same level as foreign countries (with a few caveats).”

    Not correct; see preceding post.

  22. 26

    your wife's pimp spews:

    so let me get this straight: the same people that want pot legalized are the same ones who dont want off-reservation gambling legalized because it is “harmful to society”….lol

  23. 28

    Michael spews:

    @10 I know you cheap labor conservatives won’t be satisfied until everyone is working for third world wages, but after that happens, who’s going to buy the crap your businesses sell?

    This one’s a bit of a puzzler, huh.

    @ 20

    The Chinese.

    The Chinese are cooking their books (and they have all sorts of problems beyond that). The same economic reports that say more cars are being produced and bought domestically say that the production of car engines is going down? WFT? I’ll try and dig that one up via Mr. Google.

  24. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @23 Indian tribes are not nations. They are semi-autonomous communities that have been given broad powers of self-government by Congress. However, tribal governments can’t enter into treaties with foreign governments, and are subordinate to federal authority and laws.

    Historically, federal troops originally were sent to “pacify” the tribes, then after their submission, protected them. After the Indian wars ended, Native Americans became wards of the federal government. Original federal policy was to “assimilate” them by destroying their culture, language, and identity, but when that didn’t work, federal policy shifted to encouraging self-government with the federal government playing an oversight role. They are effectively federally protected communities.

  25. 31

    Michael spews:

    Eric Janszen did a really good quick and dirty run down on Chinese book cooking in his book The postcatastrophe economy : rebuilding America and avoiding the next bubble
    which is where I got the example a gave above. Can’t seem to find an equivalent on the web.

  26. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It occurs to me that a lot of people who would vote against paying a penny tax on a bottle of soda would gladly drop a C-note at a corner casino. Maybe the state should just shut up, let them gamble, and take its cut of the money they leave behind in casinos and slot machines. That’s easier than trying to reason with these people.

  27. 34

    Michael spews:

    Having spent some time on reservations, I’d say it’s about time to get rid of them. If you want to see squalor, disfunction and generalized misery and disenfranchisement just head over to your closest Res.

  28. 35

    your wife's pimp spews:


    then why dont you enlighten us to your opinion….as worthless as it seems to be.

    now that, is terribly amusing..

  29. 39

    lauramae spews:

    Roger; Yes, I know that treaties can be abrogated by Congress, but my point in comparing it to states is to try to address the misconceptions like in 23, 34. In terms of control over their income and assets, there’s a huge hurdle to overcome since the pioneer types are still stuck in manifest destiny mode and believe with all their little bitter hearts that whatever the tribes have is for the taking. There’s a usual ignorant chorus about “doing away with treaties” and “doing away with reservations” but believe it can be done simply by making them evaporate. They have no goddamned clue that the treaties apply to them too. It is only because of the treaties that they get to live wherever they want to.

    Most people are determined to label treaty rights and right to self-determination (put up a casino or a hotel or both and add a wal mart and a home depot)as “special” rights that were given to tribes. So they believe that if “special rights” were given rather than “retained” from pre-treaty days, then those rights can be taken by any average skin head whose tender eyes are offended by what they see on a reservation.

  30. 40


    It looks like Goldy was correct in posting it at slog, with the noted exception of Will in Seattle (does he huff paint?).

    The “Nightlife” double rainbow of reporting had both Slog and Publicola both failing journalism school by reporting an Internet survey as if it were a poll that public policy should be based on.
    Fucking bullshit.

    On this day, the 29th day, of the 12th month, of the 2010th year Goldy was the grownup journalist.

    The full court press was on, dueling hipster Internet outlets were actively advocating the same painful stupid bullshit coming out of the mayor’s office.
    Thanks for not being a media shill for the man.

  31. 42

    Xar spews:

    @24: I was trying to simplify it (thus the caveats). I’m not sure anyone here really wants to have an arcane legal discussion of tribal sovereignty, though we could if you really want to.

    You’ve oversimplified it as well, as Tribal immunity also arises from the U.S. Constitution (and is interpreted by statutes, much the way a state’s immunity is). Congress has some ability to waive immunity on behalf of tribes (and over states in some circumstances), but courts read this kind of waiver very narrowly. They’re technically domestic dependent nations, and are different from states in significant ways.

    Tribes cannot be sued by states unless they (or Congress) consent, whereas states can be sued by other states in Federal court without consent. States are don’t get to make treaties with the U.S. government, while tribes can, and I don’t buy your statement that treaties with tribes are somehow less than treaties with foreign governments (they are, after all, subject to the Senate’s approval as well). The other big difference is that tribal corporations are not subject to suits by states and state agencies. This is not true of a corporation created or run by a state. Finally, inasmuch as any treaty is ever binding, Indian treaties are (and courts have been happy to enforce them against both the states and the U.S. government, particularly in the Northwest).

    The long and short of it is that the relationship between tribes and the federal government is complicated and unique. It can’t be easy summarized. We both tried, and we both ended up oversimplifying it.

  32. 43

    headless lucy spews:

    re 15:

    which unions pension funds you talking about? I know more than a few that are in deep deep trouble.

    Everything financial is at risk these days (thanks to Republicans), but the fact that the union pension funds still exist is a 100% better result than the reams of businesses that have virtually STOLEN the pension fund — many times under the guise of chap. 11 ‘reorganization’.

    So fuck off with you and your talk of ‘belt tightening’ in the private sector that needs to be replicated in the government.

    The stuff you are peddling is pure bunk. What do you get out of it? Do you like self flagellation?

  33. 44

    ld spews:

    I see Obama will be closing in on 14 Trillion in debt in January….13,920 trillion and counting….Can you all smell Greece from here…

  34. 45

    LD spews:

    State Budget Crisis?

    FY Budget ($B)
    2000 19.5
    2001 20.9
    2002 22.1
    2003 22.8
    2004 23.5
    2005 24.8
    2006 26.5
    2007 27.8
    2008 29.6
    2009 31.2
    2010 31.4
    2011 32.2

    It’s the Queen’s spending crisis!

  35. 46

    ld spews:

    If She is cutting 4 Billion in spending, would that not make the 2011 budget 28.2 Billion, and quite enough? Or is the cutting more smoke and mirrors from Gregoire

  36. 48

    Xar spews:

    @47 LD: A group of guilt-stricken NY Republican lawmakers just approached me to confess their shameless plot to embarass/try to break the sanitation union by putting out false and scurrilous rumors about a deliberate attempt to slow snow response. I’m not going to reveal their names because they’re afraid of retaliation. They were told by party bosses to make the sanitation union pay for supporting Democratic candidates in most elections and for, you know, wanting the city to honor its contracts and obligations.

  37. 49

    Freddie spews:

    Why not tax the crap out of the Indian casinos? I can’t think of a more useless, detrimental industry in this state….or are their too many guilty white liberals in this state?

  38. 50

    Xar spews:


    *sigh*. Either read the thread and realize how mindless your comment is, or keep on trollin’ . . . elsewhere.

  39. 51

    ld spews:

    Was that a Guilt ridden republican tow truck driver and plow operator that ripped up the SUV on the streets of NY.. Oh yes I’ll bet GWB was driving the tow truck

  40. 52

    your wife's pimp spews:


    do you like sucking your partners dick?

    fuck off yourself asshole..why dont you write the state a bonus check if you think they should keep spending like drunken sailors while the rest of us have to pull back a little.

    once again, fuck you, punk ass bitch.

    state spending has nearly DOUBLED in the last 10 years…if you dont think thats a problem, then you are a democrat for sure.

  41. 53

    Meinert spews:

    Hey all – thought I’d join you over here since there is a much different commenting group of folks here.

    Goldy’s childish attack on my idea (he has to write that way to get published in the stranger, it’s part of their editorial policy – calling an idea “stupid” instead of just refuting it)has led to the great start of a conversation. The original post in Publicola has been covered on Slog, The PI and today The New Tribune.

    A couple of things to consider. First, while the State cannot “tax” the Tribes, we could renegotiate the Tribal compact. Washington State currently gets no revenue from the $1.6 billion Tribal gaming business, and at the same time loses hundreds of millions more by giving the Tribes a monopoly on certain types of games like slots. I think we can and should fix this. California kept a similar monopoly, but in exchange they received an up front $1 billion payment and then $150-$200 million per year in revenue. Washington could get something similar. Or better.

    The better could come from expanding non-Tribal gaming. The biggest roadblock to this is the amount of money the Tribes have contributed to Washington State Dems and our Governor. I realize this is typically a Republican attack. But there is some truth to it and we need to consider why the Tribes are making these donations (are they just all liberals concerned about electing Democrats?). I think it’s about protecting their gambling monopoly and avoiding a renegotiation of their compact.

    I also want to sort of agree with Goldy on his real objection to my proposal. I don’t think our elected leaders should be let off the hook if they went out and got this revenue. This state still needs serious tax reform. We most likely need an income tax. And we need to close tax loopholes on some corporations.

    But we also need to find ways to increase business activity. This is the activity that drives revenue to the State. Gregoire has actually been active in this area and I applaud her for it. We need to look for more ways to make Washington a great place to do business. A strong economy will be what drives more revenue to fund government. So we on the left need to suggest more ways to increase this activity, not just increase taxes.

    The late night economy, and the adult entertainment I speak of in my article are just two areas we can increase business activity and thus revenue to the State without increasing taxes. Pot legalization would be another. Let’s keep thinking and let’s try to make some of these things happen. Goldy and his curmudgeonly commentary aside, many other places have made these activities legal and profit from them, and our citizens are going there, spending their money, and the tax revenue is going away from our Sate to those governments (see Portland, OR & Vancouver, BC).

  42. 54

    Xar spews:

    @53: Thank you for a rational and reasoned response on this thread. There aren’t many.