BOSTON, Jan. 22 -- Gov. William Weld is again pressing legislators to approve casino gambling in Massachusetts as he unveils a record $18.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year. We d says expanded legalized gambling could pump $90 million a year into the state coffers.
Weld's proposals would allow a gambling casino run by the Wampanoag ('wom-pah-NO-ahg') Indian tribe in New Bedford, a second casino in western Massachusetts, and some 700 slot machines at each of the state's four racetracks. The Democratic-controlled Legislature last session failed to take action on thme Republican governor's casino proposals. Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, a longtime critic of casinos, says the governor should focus on 'making Massachusetts a better place to live, work and do business, not a better place to gamble.' Harshbarger claims casinos will make their profits off of people who can least afford to lose their money at the gambling table, and says they will lead to more organized crime in Massachusetts. Weld's budget proposal Wednesday for the first time tops $18 billion, a nearly 3 percent increase over the current spending plan. It contains, among other things, a combination of seven tax cuts worth more than $150 million to families, individuals and businesses. ---
Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---