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Opening Arguments

Break time

The Indianapolis Star notes in an editorial that the state's two racinos are pleading poverty and asking for a tax break, the second time they have "tried to escape an agreement they freely entered into last year." I have no special love for the racinos, and I think gambling has done more harm than good in Indiana. But I wonder about this reasoning, in the editorial's final paragraph:

Let's imagine, for the sake of argument, that the General Assembly does eventually give in to this special interest. What will lawmakers tell the thousands of other Indiana businesses -- from auto dealers to jewelry stores -- struggling because business isn't as brisk as it once was? For that matter, what will lawmakers tell the more than 10 percent of Hoosiers who are currently unemployed? When will they get their tax breaks?

Yes, let's do imagine. To start with the last ones mentioned, those who are currently employed might qualify for a tax break if they get jobs, which those thousands of companies struggling because business isn't brisk might be in a better position to offer if they get the kind of tax breaks being sought by the racinos. If it's nuts to suggest higher or more taxes during a recession (yes, Mr. Obama, that means you), then it's smart to offer some relief from existing ones during a recession.