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BIRMINGHAM, AL – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis is outlining his plan for the state's bingo/gambling issue if he's elected.
"Last week, special interest maneuvering and partisan bickering derailed the electronic gambling legislation in the Alabama Senate," said Congressman Davis. "I believe that a straightforward up or down vote on the question of electronic gambling is the way to break the logjam. Let's give Alabamians the right to vote this November on a constitutional amendment that addresses the simple question of whether they want gambling to be a legal business enterprise in our state."
Davis continued, "When the status of gambling is resolved by a vote of the people, our state's leaders can return to the far more important challenge of rebuilding our economy and combating the double-digit unemployment rate that is wrecking the dreams of families around this state."
Davis outlined several details of his approach to gambling, including details of a streamlined ‘up or down' amendment:
Davis says the streamlined up or down vote he proposes will not contain controversial provisions that dictate or cap the number of legal casinos, nor will it address specific taxation questions, which will be reserved for the 2011 legislative session.
He says the Davis amendment will require that in the event electronic gaming is approved, the Legislature will have 60 calendar days from the start of the next legislative session to set a permanent tax rate and to establish a statewide gaming commission that would determine the procedure for licensing gaming institutions. Until a commission is established and a tax rate is set, the amendment will not become effective.
Davis says as governor he will advocate for an aggressive taxation rate that is at or above the national average, believing that portions of the proceeds for taxation should be directed to school districts that contain casinos, while the largest share of the revenues will be directed to the state's education trust fund and general fund.
Davis added that he will advocate for a robust, independent statewide gaming commission that will conduct rigorous, independent oversight of gambling operators.
"My proposal for an up or down vote will not be favored by certain special interests, who want our state's laws to establish a monopoly for certain casino operators," Davis said. "Nor will it be favored by forces who claim they want the people to decide but who actually want to lock in certain special protections that would help them eliminate their competitors."
Alabama Ag. Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks responded to Davis' campaign saying:
"This is the big difference between Artur and me. Artur expects gaming will magically happen while he focuses on something else. I will expand gaming to any county that wants it. Ask Artur Davis if he will expand gaming. I will. Nobody gets a monopoly. And I will create an education lottery and he won't," Sparks said. "We will not be lectured by Artur Davis, who is bought and paid for by Big Oil, the credit card companies and the healthcare industry and we can prove it. It's more than $860,000 he took. We aren't bought. He is. The only reason he's accusing us is to hide the fact that he's bought and paid for."
INFORMATION SOURCES: Artur Davis and Ron Sparks campaigns