TruthPAC Files OEC Complaint Against Issue 3 Proponents
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COLUMBUS, Ohio--(Business Wire)-- TruthPAC asked the Ohio Elections Commission today to find the pro-casino campaign guilty of violating election law by making false statements about the number of jobs the casinos would create and by dismissing claims that Issue 3 would exempt wagers made in cash from the taxes the casinos would have to pay. The disputed statements are contained in the pro-casino campaign's TV ads and in mailings paid for by the Ohio Jobs and Growth Committee. If the Elections Commission finds the ads or mailings contain false statements, it can refer the offending campaign committee to a prosecuting attorney for prosecution. Opponents of Issue 3 have long maintained that it contains a huge loophole that would allow casinos to pay even less than the already-low 33 percent tax it calls for. "The Growth Committee attempted to refute that assertion by misleading the public into thinking that cash wagering does not occur at casinos," according to TruthPAC's complaint. As evidence, it cited a Columbus Dispatch article in which pro-casino spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said, "Cash wagering is an anachronism. Nobody uses it." The complaint also includes an affidavit from Cincinnati lawyer and state Rep. Louis Blessing, a suburban Cincinnati Republican who launched his own investigation to determine whether cash wagers still occur. "On a Saturday afternoon, my wife and I went to the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana," Blessing said in his sworn statement. "We stayed for about an hour, and specifically played the slot machines to see if they accepted cash wagers. Everyone we played did accept cash wagers." At the heart of the dispute is Issue 3's definition of "gross casino revenue," which it defines as the total amount of money exchanged for the purchase of chips, tokens, tickets, electronic cards, or similar objects by casino patrons, less winnings paid to those who wager. So the taxable event occurs when a customer buys something - such as a chip or token - that represents cash. What is not included: Bets made directly in cash. The complaint also centers on casino backers' often repeated claims that Issue 3 will "create 34,000 new jobs." The committee's source for the job-creation claim is study by the University of Cincinnati that was paid for by the pro-casino campaign. "Growth Committee knew that passage of Issue 3 would not 'create 34,000 new jobs,' according to the elections commission complaint, because the UC study does not make that prediction." In fact, the UC study confesses that it does not address jobs that could be lost if the casinos move in. According to the study's disclaimer, the report abstains from a detailed discussion of the downside of casinos, including the impact they could have on surrounding businesses." ABOUT TRUTHPAC TruthPAC is a broad, bipartisan coalition opposed to Issue 3 - a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize four Las Vegas-style casinos in Ohio. Financed in part by Ohio's historic horse racing industry that will be destroyed by the Casino Plan, the committee works to counter exaggerated claims put forth by the out-of-state gambling interests bankrolling Issue 3. For more information, please visit: www.TruthPAC.org Paid for by TruthPAC, Michael J. Johrendt, Treasurer, 250 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215 TruthPAC Sandy Theis 614-940-0131 Media@TruthPAC.org Copyright Business Wire 2009
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