AFSCME California Join Growing Coalition to Oppose Proposition 26

California Cities, Elected Leaders and Organizations Join in Opposition Measure could Result in $500 Million in Lost Tax Revenue for California Communities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (August 10, 2022) – Opposition to Proposition 26 continues to grow as American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) California representing dozens of autonomous local unions and tens of thousands of union workers across California, announced their opposition to Proposition 26 – the only sports betting measure being contemplated for the November 2022 ballot that directly harms local communities.

“The Tribal Sports Wagering Act puts $500 million in local tax revenue at risk due to the poison pill that will bankrupt community cardrooms. And when city revenue is slashed, public employee jobs like mine are on the line. “This is not just some hypothetical statement. I can tell you from experience what happens to city workers when cardrooms are forced to shut down. I myself got laid off when our local cardroom had to close during the pandemic. And I don’t want any more of my union brothers and sisters to suffer that same fate – especially when it can be avoided.”

-Shavon Moore-Cage, Member, AFSCME Local 36 Management Chapter.

New organizations and community leaders joining AFSCME California:

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, ELECTED OFFICIALS, AND COMMUNITY LEADERS:

● Ariel Pe, Vice Mayor, City of Lakewood
● Cathy Warner, Councilmember, City of Whittier
● Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
● Central Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
● City of Clovis
● City of San Jose
● City of Huntington Park
● Joe Neves, Supervisor, County of Kings
● Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce

● Kevin Lainez, Councilmember, City of Commerce
● Maria Teresa Del Rio, Mayor Pro Tem
● Mary Casillas Salas, Former Assemblymember (D) and Mayor, City of Chula Vista
● Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee
● Norma Martínez-Rubin, Councilmember, City of Pinole
● Public Interest Coalition

Today’s announcement adds to the chorus of cities, local government officials, organizations, and community leaders already opposed to Prop 26, including California Contract Cities Association, representing over 70 cities, Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Disabled American Veterans, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Business Federation, among hundreds of others.

Prop 26 proposes to amend the State Constitution to guarantee tribal casinos a near monopoly on all gaming in California – adding exclusivity over roulette, craps and sports wagering to their current monopoly on slot machines — while weaponizing the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) so it can be used against tribal
casino operators’ legally-operating competition. 

Specifically, this change in the State Constitution allows tribal casinos to hire private trial lawyers and replace the role of the Attorney General to sue their non-tribal competitors. As a result, the measure puts more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at risk. Cities rely on this revenue for resident services such as public safety, housing and homeless programs.

BACKGROUND ON THE MEASURE:

It threatens to destroy local jobs. The eligible tribal gaming measure changes the Constitution and sets a dangerous precedent that could result in the loss of tens of thousands of quality jobs in minority communities. Tribal casinos have a history of unsuccessfully challenging the legality of local cardrooms. Now, they’re taking it a step too far by exploiting the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) that was originally meant to protect workers. The measure expands PAGA into new territory by allowing tribal casinos to sue their competitors — forcing cardrooms out of business with unlimited, meritless lawsuits. Local communities will lose more than 32,000 good-paying jobs that generate $1.6 billion in wages annually. 

It deprives local governments of revenue for vital services. The eligible tribal gaming measure contains a poison pill for local cardrooms, which are a significant source of tax revenue and economic activity for many local governments. The measure will force cardrooms out of business and result in a loss of $500 million in local tax revenue statewide — meaning fewer funds for public health, homelessness services, senior centers, and after-school programs. California and local communities will lose $5.6 billion in economic output generated by cardrooms.