Questions and Answers about Proposition 70:
What is Proposition 70?
Proposition 70 is an initiative that gives tribes a 99-year monopoly on gaming and allows for an unlimited expansion of casino gaming in major urban and suburban areas across California. It will appear on the November 2, 2004 General Election ballot.
Why should I oppose Prop 70?
By voting NO on Prop 70, you protect Governor Schwarzenegger's recently negotiated compacts with several gaming tribes which will add $1 billion to the state's bottom line this year alone and hundreds of millions more every year. Additionally, you effectively stop unlimited casino gaming in major urban and suburban areas across California and ensure that tribes mitigate environmental, public safety and other effects in the future.
Who's behind Prop 70?
While more than 60 California Indian tribes operate casinos, just one tribe - the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians - drafted Prop 70.
Who Opposes Prop 70?
Prop 70 is opposed by more than 300 law enforcement, public safety, education, environmental and taxpayer leaders and organizations, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs' Association, California District Attorneys Association, California State Association of Counties, League of California Cities, California State Building Trades Council, Unite HERE!, and the California Taxpayer Protection Committee, among others.
Doesn't Proposition 70 ensure that Indian casinos pay their fair share of revenues?
No. The measure does not allow for the state to audit the books of the Indian casinos. This means we will never know if they are paying their fair share or not. They could end up paying next to nothing. Further, if the corporate tax provisions in Proposition 70 are found to be preempted by federal law and severed from the initiative, the tribes would enjoy a 99-year monopoly over casino gaming activities and would not be required to make any payments to the state. It's a sweetheart deal for the tribes bankrolling the measure, but a raw deal for the rest of us.
Will Prop 70 result in an expansion of gaming?
Yes. Prop 70 requires the California Governor to approve every single request for casino gambling that crosses his desk - within 30 days. The approval of this initiative would encourage casino gambling operations in virtually every county in California and there would be no limit on the location or size of these casinos or the number of gaming machines and tables they could operate.
Does this measure give a monopoly to Indian tribes to operate casino gaming in California?
Yes. Prop 70 grants a 99-year monopoly to tribes for the operation of casino gaming in our state. When problems arise with the provisions of Prop 70 -- which will inevitably happen -- California will be virtually powerless to deal with those problems because they are locked into place by this initiative.
Does Prop 70 provide any benefit to local government to deal with all the problems caused by Indian casinos?
No. Local communities across California have suffered from problems with traffic congestion, crime and environmental contamination as a result of Indian casinos. Prop 70 does not require tribes to negotiate with local governments and provides almost no money to mitigate these impacts. Tragically, Prop 70 provides local communities with no vote, no voice, and no way to pay for the government services casinos require.
Does Proposition 70 provide for any oversight or regulation of casino gambling?
No. Tribes who opt for new or amended Prop 70 compacts are already largely exempt from state and local laws that protect casino patrons, workers and the local community. The state has no authority to oversee casino operations to make sure customers and tribal members are treated fairly. For the most part, health and safety rules, including local building codes and food safety laws, don't apply to tribal casinos. They don't have to pay state minimum wage, comply with workplace safety rules or pay state workers compensation benefits. State and local authorities have little power to investigate money laundering, skimming or other crimes related to casino activity.
Why shouldn't Indian tribes be allowed to operate casinos on their land? Hasn't gaming helped the tribes achieve economic self-sufficiency?
Casino gambling by Indian tribes is a right guaranteed by federal law and no tribe needs Proposition 70 to conduct legal gaming on their land. So far, more than 60 California tribes have negotiated compacts with the state that allows these tribes to conduct legal gaming operations. Proposition 70 circumvents this process by forcing California's governor to rubber stamp every request by every tribe to build a casino anywhere they own land with no requirement that the concerns of local communities be mitigated or the cost of providing local government services be compensated.
How will Proposition 70 affect recently negotiated agreements?
For years, Indian gaming tribes have paid almost nothing to state or local governments. But now, Governor Schwarzenegger has negotiated new agreements with many tribes that are a winner for tribes and taxpayers. Proposition 70 effectively destroys these agreements.
What happens if Prop 70 is defeated - will tribes lose their right to operate casinos?
No. Tribes with existing gaming agreements can keep them, or they can negotiate new agreements with Governor Schwarzenegger, just as several tribes have already done. Those tribes without existing agreements can also negotiate agreements with the governor.