Further highlighting the current split in the Republican Party, former House Speaker (and current [fill in the blank] candidate) Marco Rubio went after Gov. Charlie Crist and the Republican-dominated Florida Senate by charging that they were trying to “[balance] the budget on the backs of the poor, elderly and the addicted to buy a false hope.” Rubio was joined by the Christian Coalition of Florida and the Florida Baptist Convention.
Rubio said they recognized the difficult task before lawmakers but warned that by choosing to expand gambling, government becomes addicted to the losses of gambling addicts.
“There is a real moral issue with asking government to expand its operations to be increasingly dependent on an activity we should be discouraging, not encouraging,” he said.
“It’s fool’s gold,” Rubio added. “Much of this money is already being spent elsewhere in the economy.”
He argued that money used by gamblers could otherwise be spent on more productive and positive entertainment and the revenue the state depends on becomes an unstable source of funding – as the decline in state lottery revenues during the recession have shown.
By differentiating himself from others who have remained silent during the current controversy, Rubio has positioned himself to gain the support of religious conservatives who hold considerable sway in a Republican primary—whether that be the US Senate primary (provided Charlie Crist doesn’t run) or a Gubernatorial primary (provided Charlie Crist runs for the US Senate). His chief rival, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, has remained silent on the current controversy.