Gov. Bentley, Atty. Gen. Strange Respond to Gaming Proposal

Alabama’s top Republicans are responding to a proposal by a senate leader that suggests legalizing gambling in the state would bring in more than 400 million dollars, solving the state’s budget shortfall.

“I am not going to be a part of something that will not solve our problems long term and I will not be a part of something that will not take care of our situation in October.”

Strong words from Governor Robert Bentley about Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s gaming proposal. Marsh says he will introduce gaming legislation next week, but Bentley says that will not fix the budget shortfall by October, the start of the next fiscal year.

“I have presented a very fair plan that will solve our problems for long term,” he said. “We presented a plan that includes 541 million dollars in fair taxes.”

Bentley says the state is short 700 million dollars. He says his plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and car sales and un-earmark funds will solve the problem.

Marsh won’t get any support on the proposal from Attorney General Luther Strange either.
He’s taken a strong stance against electronic gaming, raiding and shutting down several casinos in the state.

“I think the rule of law in Alabama is settled,” Strange said. “The only unsettled issue to me is what the courts are going to do in the federal case about the Indian gaming.”

Strange wants to close the state’s Indian casinos, as well but is waiting to hear back from a federal court ruling to see if he has the power to do so.

“The issue is whether or not we have even the authority to go on Indian land as to enforce the laws there. We think they’re breaking the laws of Alabama. The courts are going to tell us whether we have the authority to do that.”


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