New In The Phoenix: Casinos, Racinos, And Schools

In my Talking Politics column in this week's Boston Phoenix -- out tomorrow, online today -- I take a look at two hot-button issues.

First, natch, there's last week's casino vote. DiMasi was able to split the state reps who support slot machines at race tracks, or so-called "racinos," from the casino supporters, which helped him defeat the bill. But those racino advocates are unlikely to get their proposal passed without the casino supporters in the house. If the sides get together on a compromise bill -- as Governor Patrick began actively pushing as the end grew near -- perhaps casinos aren't dead after all.

Second, I look at the stunning announcement last week that the Boston Public School budget is soaring at a rate that will require the cutting of tens of millions of dollars. The casino debate kept this issue from getting the attention it deserves, but that will change soon -- perhaps as early as tomorrow, after tonight's school committee meeting at which the draft budget will be submitted. Hey: do you think any ambitious city councilors will use budget hearings to grandstand over Mayor Menino's drastic cuts to school programs? I do.

[Update: This afternoon Menino announced plans to use $10 million cash from reserves to help cover the school deficit.]

The column is online now. No Side Bets:The governor’s gaming legislation crapped out, but are casinos still alive in a compromise? Plus, a school-budget crisis could start a political firestorm.

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