The campaign is called "Yes for Schools First", but the proposal set for the November ballot would benefit the gambling casinos of Missouri by removing the last remaining regulation approved by voters in 1992.
"Yes for Schools First" spokesman, Anne Marie Moy, tells the Missourinet that if the initiative passes this November, it will provide an extra $100 million for schools.
"It’s going to do that by increasing the state tax casinos pay to 21%," says Moy, "and by updating some outdated regulations."
Moy is referring to the $500 loss limit voters approved when they authorized riverboat gambling in Missouri. It’s the only regulation left from the 1992 initiative that approved gambling in Missouri. There are no cruises anymore. The boats aren’t even boats. They’re riverside casinos.
Casinos have been unsuccessful in pushing the legislature to lift the loss limit, so they have decided to turn to the voters. In exchange for lifting the loss limit, the casino gambling tax will increase from 20% to 21%. Another factor in this initiative: no more casinos will be allowed in Missouri.
We asked Moy if calling the initiative "Yes for Schools First" might be misleading, since it seems to benefit the boats the most.
"Well, you know, the Schools First initiative is going to do a lot of important things," Moy replies, "The name of our initiative underscores the most important thing it’s going to do and that is to generate more than $100 million a year a year for Missouri schools."
It is estimated $105-to-130 million as well as $5-to-7 million for higher education, early childhood development, veterans and others, if voters approve what the legislature has so far rejected.