Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, Republican candidate for governor, testified on Friday before the legislature’s Public Safety Committee in support of a bill for an open, competitive process with Bridgeport in play for a waterfront gaming destination. The bill passed the legislative committee and now requires passage by the State House and Senate. In his testimony Lauretti lamented government monopolies, declaring open competition is “healthy for economics.” Connecticut operates under a gaming monopoly in which it receives 25 percent of the slot take in exchange for granting exclusivity to the two tribal nations that operate Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. See Lauretti testimony above.
Lauretti, who has deep roots in Bridgeport, issued this additional statement on Monday:
For the second time in two weeks, there was an attempt to stifle debate on an issue concerning fair competition for casino gaming in Connecticut. Fortunately, the Public Safety committee overwhelming voted to move the competitive gaming resolution forward to the General Assembly.
Competition is what drives innovation. Regardless of where you stand on expanding casino gaming in Connecticut, it’s hard to argue that monopolies are good for business. Considering Connecticut’s current economic climate, we should be willing to listen and entertain all offers from any potential investor. A company’s proposal to invest in $750 million in the state’s largest cities Bridgeport and New Haven, create thousands of jobs in a region that has been plagued by lack of employment opportunities, and doing so without any state corporate subsidy or tax incentive should be considered.
Corporate subsidies, tax incentives, picking winners and losers has been an unfortunate time-honored tradition in this state and it has kept the Connecticut engine idling in park for years. Given the recent attempts to stall competition in gaming for the preservation of an established monopoly, I am reminded of a word that has been thrown about the state capitol over the last month and that word is “fairness.” Where is the “fairness” in trying to prevent a public discussion on competitive casino gaming? Where is the “fairness” in preventing a vote on a bill that allows businesses to solicit gaming and entertainment proposals? Where was the “fairness” when Governor Malloy stated, “I will not sign a transaction or bill that puts into real danger our existing arrangement with the tribal nations, nor would anyone in this building who thought about it”? Where was the “fairness” when a handful of corporations and small businesses under the Fast Five program received state subsidies at the expense of Connecticut residents and small businesses? Where was the “fairness” when the governor unilaterally negotiated a labor agreement extension for a decade? Where was the “fairness” when the Governor and Democratic Party donors circumvented the state’s clean laws to pad the coffers of his gubernatorial election campaign? Where was the “fairness” when Governor Malloy failed to release $30 million in road repair to Connecticut towns for road repair? Where was the “fairness” when a bill and public hearing that addressed the crumbling foundations in Eastern Connecticut was blocked in committee? Governor Malloy it’s time to start practicing what you preach.”