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Siegelman may sing lottery tune again

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–There should be no doubt in the minds of anyone that if Don Siegelman bites the bullet and decides to run for governor his No. 1 campaign issue will not be unlike his successful campaign for governor in 1998.
In that race his sole issue was a lottery and it is now evident that if he runs again in 2006 it will be the same song, second verse. But beyond the lottery, Siegelman also wants to get the Poarch Band of the Creek Indian tribe to pay taxes on the millions of dollars it is now collecting at several so-called bingo locations in Alabama.
Certainly that would generate an untold amount of revenue for the state but there is one catch–federal law prevents the state from imposing such taxes.
At a press conference in Wetumpka last week where the Indian tribe is now constructing a $300 million casino…including a hotel and parking decks…Siegelman insisted the state should get some of the action the gambling establishment will generate.
The chief financial officer for the tribe, Arthur Mothershed, said the tribe would be willing to work out a deal with the state…if…the state allowed them to operate table games such as black jack, craps and roulette…all of which are now prohibited in the state.
No doubt watching with interest but saying nothing on Siegelman's proposal is Gov. Bob Riley. He has made it clear in the past that he is opposed to any expansion of gambling and has made it clear that Hades will freeze over before he would allow the Indians table games in exchange for money for the state.
I am now privy to a more recent poll which shows substantially different results. This latest survey actually has the two men in what is statistically a deadheat: Folsom 40 percent, Wallace 39.5 percent.
Tripp Skipper, an aide to U. S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Anniston, has announced he will run for the office of Auditor being vacated by Beth Chapman, who the day before announced her intentions to run for Secretary of State. Skipper has some interesting credentials to get into politics…his degree is in theology, and he is a part-time pastor of a small Baptist Church in Wadley.
Associate Justice Lynn Stuart of the State Supreme Court announced she will seek another term in 2006. Five seats on the high court…all now held by Republicans…are up for grabs. Incumbent Justice Tom Woodall has already announced his plans to run again; Justice Bernard Harwood is retiring. Chief Justice Drayton Nabors and Associate Justice Champ Lyons have not yet said if they will run next year.
That is too good not to share.