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Schwarzenegger Vows to Veto Casino Plan

21 October 2003

CALIFORNIA – As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Only hours after the Davis administration announced a deal to build a new Indian casino and bring in new money to the state, Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger promised Monday to veto the plan.

"The dispute is the latest clash between the Republican governor-elect and one of the Capitol's most powerful special interests over how much the tribes should pay the state for the privilege of operating casinos.

"The last-minute deal -- completed on Oct. 3 -- would allow the Fort Mojave tribe to build a casino with 350 slot machines near Needles in San Bernardino County.

"In return, the tribe would agree to give 5 percent of its net winnings to the state -- a requirement Gov. Gray Davis has recently imposed on tribes signing new compacts.

"Schwarzenegger says he wants to renegotiate every gambling compact, which he cannot do without the affected tribe agreeing to reopen discussions. He can affect the deal announced Monday because it must win legislative approval and his signature before taking effect.

"…Throughout his campaign, Schwarzenegger insisted the tribes should pay more; they pointed out that they are sovereign nations and don't have to pay taxes at all.

"…One of Schwarzenegger's main campaign theses was that the tribes reaped huge profits but paid little in taxes. He wants them to tithe more than $1 billion of their profits of at least $5 billion to the state.

"…Compacts cannot be renegotiated unless both sides agree. The Schwarzenegger camp thinks tribes might be willing to do so if the state increases the limit on slot machines…"

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