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Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Posted 10:59 PM by

Slotsylvania corruption a concern, but Rendell isn't blamed

Ed Rendell is still very popular, despite the lack or tax reform and a majority of Pennsylvanians who now believe corruption from slots gambling is a concern, a new poll has found.Sixty five percent of Pennsylvania residents say property tax cuts are "not too likely" or "not likely at all" from the state's $1 billion windfall from slots parlors, a recent poll has found.

Oh, most residents (71 percent) believe the state is "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to raise that much money annually from slot machine gambling by 2012. They simply don't think the added revenue will benefit them. according to a Quinnipiac University survey released last Thursday.

The university's Polling Institute surveyed 1,872 Pennsylvania voters from Feb. 21-25. Its results have a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.

Slot machines were supposed to be the linchpin for property tax reform in this state.

So far, the only ones to benefit, besides the slots parlor owners and the lawmakers they continue to lobby, have been low income seniors.

The Legislature and Gov. Ed Rendell have yet to approve a workable plan to reduce taxes for every homeowner even though half of the projected 14 slots parlors are already open.

Here's where things get a little weird.

"While Pennsylvania voters remain skeptical that slot machine gambling casino revenue will cut their taxes, the author of the plan, Gov. Ed Rendell, cruises along with a comfortable approval rating," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the polling institute.

Although 14 percent of those polled say corruption in the operation of the slots parlors is "a major problem," and 42 percent say it is "somewhat of a problem," the issue hasn't hurt Rendell's popularity.

Fast Eddie is enjoying a 52 percent approval rating versus a 34 percent disapproval rating - almost the same as his 53-36 percent rating in a November 7, 2007, Quinnipiac poll.

However, voters split evenly (42-42 percent) on whether they approve of the way Rendell is handling slot machine gambling.

With that kind of a disconnect between the corruption issue, the failure of tax reform and Rendell, it's no wonder the lame duck governor felt safe enough this week to say through a spokesman that he is keeping the $115,000 in campaign contributions he received from indicted slots parlor owner Louis DeNaples.

DeNaples, a Dunmore billionaire and federal felon, is accused of lying to the state Gaming Control Board about his ties to two reputed mobsters and two corrupt Philadelphia political fixers. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Richards said the poll found "a majority are concerned about corruption in the slots casinos, but about a quarter say it's not much of a problem."

If the public only knew what you now do, I doubt Rendell would be nearly as popular. Some folks have already been calling for his impeachment based solely on his failure to pass legitimate tax reform.

The poll also found that 42 percent of voters disapproved of the way the Legislature is handling its job, compared to 37 percent who approve.


For more about Louis DeNaples and to read my complete take on this long-predicted Slotsylvania snafu, click here.

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