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Here Comes Another Task Force

Two years ago Governor Richardson rightly vetoed a gambling study bill, but after the Journal runs a series of gambling articles (subscription) followed by an article (subscription) on Rep. Kandy Cordova’s twice-killed gambling study bill. The Governor has a change of heart. The fact the tribes want to renegotiate the compacts (subscription) also probably has a little to do with the Governor’s flip-flop (subscription):

Richardson said he will form a task force within the next few days to conduct a quick-turnaround look into compulsive gambling.

Governor Richardson wants to spend a $110,000, the amount of Rep Cordova’s bill, and sixty days to decide what the state needs to do about gambling addiction. Well, that’s odd because it already sounds like the Governor knows exactly what he wants to do:

The governor also threw his support behind bills pending in the Legislature to fund a longer-term compulsive gambling study and put the state Health Department in charge of treatment money.

Surprise, surprise… this is about another Governor Richardson money grab. He is maneuvering to put another $1,000,000 plus into Health Department coffers, and he is using the creation of a task force as a front for doing it. Of course, the Governor pretends he needs answers to these questions:

“We need an accurate picture of how compulsive gambling is affecting New Mexicans,” he said. “How many people are committing suicide. How many are going bankrupt. How many are suffering.”

Why do we need this accurate picture? Is the Richardson planning on banning gambling in New Mexico? Somehow, I don’t think that’s on the table. Well, let me save taxpayers $110,000 and sixty days with this prediction. The compulsive gambling picture is no prettier today than it was when all of these studies were done. This is not an area that needs additional study, and it sure as heck doesn’t need a task force. Might I suggest the Governor and Rep. Cordova spend a little time with Google and read the results.