If it were up to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, gaming throughout the state of Florida would not exist, so don’t expect the folks over at Big Dice to offer him any free tickets to a Elvis tribute show in Las Vegas.
During a recent interview with the Shark Tank in the Speaker’s state Capitol “Falcon’s Nest,” Corcoran said that the state budget does not need gaming revenue in order to balance, and that if it was solely up to him, there would be “a legitimate contraction of gaming in the state of Florida.”
Corcoran, who has always contended that the Florida House of Representatives was “conservative,” says that any gaming deal coming out of the House would also have to be “conservative” in scope.
Corcoran added that because the legislature has been putting “recurring dollars” into reserves and has “cut non-essential services and programs,” needing gaming dollars wasn’t even in the deck of cards.
“Our shortfall in the budget is much more driven by our spending practices than it is by any kind of revenue issues.
We don’t even budget the gaming money, so there’s three hundred million dollars that are sitting in a escrow account that the second that a compact did get resolved, it would be released to us, and we would have that money to allocate in the budget. But right now, and haven’t for the past two years, budgeted that money because we don’t have it coming in.
When asked if he didn’t care if gaming existed at all, Corcoran stated:
That’s correct. We don’t need the money. We do not need the money. That’s a certainty. We are proving that right now. Our budget, which flips those numbers and make a $3.1 billion shift in a deficit to a surplus of $1.3 billion is all down without any of that compact money.
I believe it is safe to say that if Corcoran decides to run for Governor in 2018, a good bunch of that casino money will be going elsewhere.
Oh, and speaking of a possible run for Governor, Corcoran said that he is focused on his job as Speaker. (wink wink)