Mayor Cuts Off Funding For Casino Referendum Lobbying Effort

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 30, 2010 Updated Dec 30, 2010 at 7:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne's mayor has decided that fighting for a casino referendum is really a gamble not worth pursuing.

Tom Henry has cut off funding to lobbyists trying to get that referendum.

All told, about $180,000 in income tax monies was spent to make a case for a casino referendum to Fort Wayne voters, and to lawmakers at the statehouse.

But the dawning of the New Year will also dry up all funding towards those ends.

The legislature turned a cold shoulder to allowing the referendum in two sessions.

The mayor, who is out of town around the New Years holiday, told our partner in news the Journal-Gazette that discovering that the state wasn't interested in the city's request was worth the price of the lobbyists.

He added, "Now we know how the legislature feels about us."

We caught up with the President Pro Tem of the Senate for reaction to the aborted gambling campaign.

State Sen. David Long/(R) Senate President Pro Tem: " The mayor has finally come to that conclusion. That was pretty clear from last year. I don't blame him for pursuing something that he wanted to get done, if he really felt that passionately about it. But you know, I think he's been told unequivocally that this is just not going to happen, and for Fort Wayne it's not a good fit."

We did receive a statement from the mayor.

He said, "I made it very clear that I wanted the people of Fort Wayne to be able to make their own decision about gaming. I wanted our interests protected and the voice of the public to be heard. But the landscape on this issue has changed dramatically, and it is no longer an issue for consideration."

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