Proposition A passes despite valiant grassroots effort
JEFFERSON CITY – The Casino Watch Committee, which coordinated a grassroots effort against the massive gambling expansion contained within Proposition A, has thanked the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) for the role it played in attempting to defeat the measure.
The MBC spread the word throughout its churches that Prop A went against biblical principles, and a total of 1.2 million Missourians voted no on Nov. 4. However, approximately 1.6 million voters cast ballots in the affirmative, meaning the proposition passed with 56 percent.
The result means that there will be a hike in the state’s casino tax rate from 20 to 21 percent, with the state’s $500 loss limit per two hours being dropped. It is estimated that an additional $500 million in losses per year will be created, generating anywhere from $100-$130 million of new revenue purportedly for public schools.
Evelio Silvera, executive director of Casino Watch, issued a statement Nov. 4 commending eight organizations who put forth major effort in the campaign, including the MBC.
“We are grateful for all those who joined us in this grassroots effort to protect Missouri families,” Silvera said. “We stood strong in a bipartisan effort alongside both gubernatorial candidates, elected officials, superintendents, educators, virtually every major state newspaper, and Missouri citizens. It is unfortunate, however, that the $16 million, carefully constructed campaign of distraction has succeeded, especially in light of all three Missouri teachers union refusing to endorse Proposition A. We wish we were able to deliver this message to more families.”
Dan Hite, chairman, Missouri Clergy Against Gambling Expansion, was one of the many Missouri Baptist leaders who fought against the passage of Proposition A. Hite is pastor of Christian Family Fellowship in Wentzville and president of the Freeway Foundation.
“For a grassroots effort with a miniscule fraction of the opposition budget, we did a most admirable job,” Hite said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
A total of 39 counties defeated the proposition.