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It's about casinos: Not business taxes

After successfully balancing a budget the old-fashioned way — by spending no more than they had — legislators will consider this week a bill that many hope will negate, or at least reduce, the need to set spending priorities in the future. It will not work out that way.

Once again legislators are set to debate an expanded gambling bill. This one would have a big portion of its revenue dedicated to reducing business taxes. At least, that is the selling point du jour. If you think the tax-reduction part of the legislation wouldn't be changed in the future by lawmakers eager for ready cash to spend on some new pet project, you probably haven't followed politics for very long.

The business tax reductions included in this reincarnation of the perennial casino bill are steep. To be sure, that will prove a strong temptation to Republican House members who campaigned on a tax-cutting platform.

Those representatives should recall how the stated reason for creating casinos in New Hampshire has changed over the years to fit the hot legislative trend of the moment, whatever that happened to be. Representatives should not be fooled. This is a casino bill, not a business-tax bill, and once its revenues are spent, those business taxes will rise again.

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