Rampant redistribution of wealth by government is now the norm. So is this: This redistribution inflames government's natural rapaciousness and subverts the rule of law. This degeneration of governance is illustrated by the Illinois legislature's transfer of income from some disfavored riverboat casinos to racetracks…
George Will possibly has this one wrong.
Many states are increasing tax rates on gambling franchises in order to benefit other gambling franchises. This is especially true in jurisdictions which now allow casinos. Previous to the grant of these gambling casino licenses, racing was the main gaming venue in the community. Not only did this allow individuals to gamble, but it provided an opportunity for racing to prosper. With casinos, all this has changed. George Will would have one believe that detaxation of the casinos for the benefit of the racetracks is an improper act. However, what is not understood is that these gambling casinos have licenses which are grants by the government, not property rights.
All too often, individuals lose their property rights and are not fairly and fully compensated. Businesses severely interfered with by governmental action are often treated with disdain, commonly having to deal with the issue that these damages are too speculative for them to be paid and therefore, no damages should be paid at all.
In this circumstance, we have something analogous to what are called "grazing cases" in the federal sphere. In the grazing areas throughout the Rocky Mountain states, ranchers have relatively small tracts of land which are not large enough to suit grazing. However, when the government provides federally-owned grazing lands at a relatively low price, successful cattle ranching activities may occur. When these ranches are condemned, owners attempt to claim that the compensation should include their beneficial grazing rights that they have obtained from the federal government. Courts have consistently held that the grazing is simply a license and the federally-owned land should not be considered as part of the parcel.
Relief has been granted in certain circumstances by legislative action. Nonetheless, what is the difference between ranchers who do not own land, but want to be compensated, and those who receive the benefit of a gambling license?