Archive for Treasurer

Grossman Casinos Podcast

Steve Grossman talked casinos, commissioners, goals, and site awards with us for the law in place to allow three casinos and a single slots parlor in MA. The public wants action — revenue, short and long-term jobs, and other proof that large-scale commercial gambling (euphemistically gaming) beyond the lottery is the right thing to do.

Treasurer and Receiver General Steve Grossman joined Left Ahead today for an abbreviated (20-minute) show focused precisely on the what-now factor. Click the player below to hear what he says about:

  • Selection of the five commissioners to set up and oversee the works
  • What we expect to gain from the operations
  • How fast we ramp up
  • What his concerns are about the commissioner he picks, the two others he co-chooses, and the whole process

Even though he’s the commonwealth’s pivotal money man and financial policy visionary, Grossman is quick to point out that he’s largely a spectator once the commission’s in place and the sites are awarded. He guides at this stage and then has to be hands off. Ideally, he’ll be figuratively counting money from the operational proceeds.

It was just he and I today on this short show. I was plain about my trepidation.

Grossman inspires the obvious observation that he was an Eagle Scout and like most of them largely remains the honest and stalwart fellow. In that vein, he stressed how demanding he will be in his choice of commissioner. The Governor has already chosen the chair, the Attorney General gets a pick, and the three of them agree among themselves on the other two to make five. The process at least on paper/online looks like the qualifications in the description and application will avoid conflicts of interest, guarantee objectivity as much as humanly possible, and bring the proper mix of relevant knowledge and skills. Check the commonwealth site here for the specs and application.

I was also very concerned about the vague and seemingly naive objectives in the law itself. Scroll to lines 138 through 149 for key goals. Pretty much, the lawmakers and governor want new jobs as well as protection and expansion of local business and tourism.

These generalizations are a far cry from what is in the literature about successful implementations of gambling facilities. Most of those are overseas and typically took years of planning and bids that required the investing company to spend tens of millions meeting the governments specifications in elaborate proposals. The clearest case I heard was from casinos expert Prof. William Eadington at a recent Rappaport forum.

While Grossman did not promise that level of smart planning, he did agree with the concepts. Listen in as he describes that meter running. He figures we have one chance to do this right. He wants the commonwealth, in the form of him, the AG, Governor and commission, to apply principles like those he used in his successful business. He does not want anyone rushing and expects high quality instead of speed of implementation.

Likewise, he spoke of trying to capture the revenue that goes to out-of-state casinos and would not promise an effort to attract out-of-state and out-of-U.S. tourists. However, he likes the ideas behind the successful implementations in foreign casinos. Those typically built such attractive tourist resorts that they are true destinations, ones where the wealthy happily bring their families for a week or more, shopping, dining,clubbing, sightseeing, and sure, gambling too. He said that is possible here as well.

He promised updates as the process continues. We intend to take him up on that.

Cross-post:
This also appears at BlueMassGroup.

~Mike

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [20:32m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Treasurer Talks Casinos

grossman.pngSteve Grossman with join us for a session on casinos, following the recent enabling legislation. We’ll try to maximize with focus — like what is the real aim of expanded gambling, whether fully fleshed out proposals or just down and dirty bidding will determine locations and features, and can we ensure as some cities and countries have that the overseeing commission will be ethical?

If you can join us live, click here, Monday, 12/19 at 3:30 PM Eastern. Afterward, the show will be at that URL, here at Left Ahead and on iTunes.

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Massachusetts Money Podcast: Grossman

We have to look to comic book or movie heroes to find a more straight-ahead character than Steve Grossman. The MA Treasurer joined Left Ahead today and gave an update on his numerous innovative and even revolutionary campaign pledges. The short of it is that he’s getting us there.

You can check his campaign promises on his appearance with us in May of 2010 here.

Over at Marry in Massachusetts, Mike endorsed him. He has also written numerous posts including favorable mentions.

That attitude reflects in today’s show. We did not have time to get into one area of disagreement — he sees destination casinos as revenue sources and job creators, while the LA hosts see more drawbacks than potential benefits. However, we did get into questions and criticisms that have floated about. For example, as maybe the Dems’ best ever fund raiser, he solicited money in the last election from people who did or could do business with the commonwealth.

Listen in as he talks about how the bidding and hiring systems work and how he has upgraded them. He even, bless him, used the correct whom you know phrase when describing how nepotism and referrals from machers were no longer acceptable. He contends that it is and will remain the lowest responsible bid that wins the contract and the best qualified candidate that gets the job.

We can check him on that with his thinner-than-ever transparency online.

A big part of that is moving the entire commonwealth checkbook and bidding records online. That’s very new and has been in the works since January. He plans for the big part of the checkbook to be functional in October and fully fleshed out in November. He’s very much a believer in people being able to see where their money comes from and is going.

What sounded like an ever harder part is working well already and will just be getting better he says. Grossman promised to leverage MA’s billions in pension funds and other investments to create jobs here. The key part is partnering with banks who will lend to local companies who want to expand here. He says already 51 of the 190 MA banks have signed up, 27 have completed the paperwork and are working with small businesses. Every quarter, they have to prove their commitment and lending records to keep their millions in MA money. By the bye, he notes that he goes to every meeting with banks who want to join the program to answer their questions.

He also touched on things just starting, like financial education and literacy by students, seniors and veterans, and on the messy matter of attacking unfunded pension liability.

icon for podpress  Steve Grossman [32:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Treasurer Comes Acalling

sgrossman.pngThis coming week, MA Treasurer Steve Grossman joins us. You can catch the show live on Wednesday, 8/17, at 11:30 AM Eastern (note, not our usual day and time) here.

If you can’t listen to the live stream, hear it later here, at the show URL or on iTunes.

Grossman won election last fall with promises of reforming the staid office. He called for showing the public who gets commonwealth money and contracts, how much and when. He said he’d squeeze banks who do business here to invest in local companies and grow jobs, using the leverage of the multi-billion-dollar pension investments. He spoke of broad reforms in the many agencies and departments his office overseas.

Mirabile dictu! In just over half a year, he’s delivering.

We’ll ask him for some specifics and how those fit in his reform goals. Then we’ll see what’s in the works and where he sees his biggest challenges.

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Lessons & Lesions Podcast

Inspired by the Rappaport Center series, we mused about the 2010 MA campaigns and looked toward 2012. Mike attended that presentation, where state party chairs, Dem John Walsh and GOP Jennifer Nassour, provided insight and bantering on what they learned from last year’s battles. Of course, both had some touchstones — Nassour of Scott Brown’s victory in January and Walsh of sweeping the statewide and Congressional offices in November when the rest of the nation was going red.

Listen in as we touch on what they said on Tremont Street and diverged into what we got out of 2010. We project to the next big contests of 2012. We deal with whether Brown’s Senate victor set a pattern, why the GOP lost here, whether Republicans really did introduce players who lost this time but are primed for victories, and how we see the strategies of the parties.

For non-MA sorts, we do pepper the conversation with pointers about what we do differently around here.

icon for podpress  Lessons & Lesions [32:44m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Elections Picks Podcast

The Left Ahead! trio rarely endorses candidates. However, each of us often does so individually at our main blogs. Look to Ryan’s Take and Left in Lowell, and Mike already has listed his statewide picks for offices and ballot questions at Marry in Massachusetts.

We ran through some trends in the last two weeks of the campaigns, including the oddment of the GOP nominee for governor pushing internal polls claiming he was winning. There was also the appearance of the mystery man of state government, the non-debating Secretary Bill Galvin. Mike has a promise of a DVD of his sudden manifestation, as recorded by the Whitman Hanson Community Access TV (not available online). He’ll report then it arrives. Galvin was in Hanson at a forum when he knew his opponents were engaged in mutual political agon on stage in Newton.

We (Ryan and Mike today) detailed our individual picks for candidates and positions on the three statewide ballot questions.

icon for podpress  Players and Picks [55:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Primary Results Podcast

Well, we were full of ourselves…and 90-some percent happy. Ryan and Mike held forth on yesterday’s MA primary results. We concentrated on the Dems.

First and to get it out of the way, we hit our mutual disappointment, a serious one. As unlikely as the late-starting, so-so funded Mac D’Alessandro challenge to 9th U.S. District House Rep. Steve Lynch was, we really, really wanted Mac to prevail. He lost about 2 to 1. Reasons and excuses aside, the progressive didn’t win and the DINO did.

Otherwise, it was a sterling day for progressives and lefties in the commonwealth. Most look good for November’s final. There shouldn’t be any Republican steamroller here.

We talk about the key down-ballot races for Secretary, Treasurer and Auditor — all key and the first two ripe for reform. We hit on state and Congressional races too. Listen in for the usual suspects at their most stereotypical.

icon for podpress  MA primary results [49:08m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Primary Preview Podcast

A short session today…and note that next week we’ll recap the MA primary votes the following day. We’ll be on Wednesday, September 15th, at 2:30 p.m. Eastern. You can catch that live here. Otherwise return here later to hear the show.

Today, Ryan and Mike looked at some of next week’s primary decisions. The top of the ballot is not affected. However, two key down-ballot slots — treasurer and auditor — have contested primaries. The third, treasurer, will be a three-way in November, but with no primary battles.

Listen in as we discuss our preferences and predictions in general. Ryan noted that he has already voted because he won’t be able to go to the polls next week. His down-ballot selections are the same as Mike’s will be, Suzanne Bump for auditor and Stephen Grossman for Treasurer. As usual, Left Ahead! won’t endorse, but Mike will at Marry in Massachusetts.

If you’re undecided on the Dems for treasurer next Tuesday, you might try our shows with Steve Grossman and Steve Murphy to help.

icon for podpress  MA Primary Preview [37:18m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Campaigns Podcast

 The three usual suspects recapped and expanded on the MA races underway, replete with plaudits and warnings.

We’re big on the down-ticket races — treasurer, secretary, and auditor. We want debates, many and now. We see the positions as having great potential for change.

For our part, we offer podcasts with four candidates. For secretary, independent challenger Jim Henderson has been on the show.  All three treasurer contenders have too:

Listen in as comment on the trends and events we find noteworthy.

icon for podpress  MA Campaigns [59:31m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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MA Political Derby Podcast

 We concentrated on the many contested primaries, both statewide and congressional. Dems, Republicans and independents alike are energized and making real races…more than in decades.

Lynne and Ryan discussed what they brought back from the Dem convention last weekend. We sprang from there into the governor’s re-election prospects (good).

Gov. Patrick was in Lowell to break ground on the new tech innovation. See and hear Lynne’s interview with him here

Listen in for our opinions on the down-ballot races as well. In that vein, check Ryan’s auditor’s race analysis.

icon for podpress  MA Political Derby [46:30m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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