If the lawmakers and residents of Maine can agree on one thing, it’s that Maine can always use a little more revenue. They don’t necessarily agree on how to raise it, spend it, or save it, but with the passage of a budget in July that can reasonably be called austere, everyone can agree that a little more money wouldn’t hurt.

Why then would we want to turn up our collective noses at a proposal to raise an additional $45 million per year in tax-free revenue?

We are referring to Question 1, the ballot initiative that would create a gaming and entertainment venue in York County. It would be responsible for $248 million in revenue over the next five years, not to mention more than 5,000 jobs. And it will cost the taxpayers of Maine nothing more than the gas it takes to drive to the polls in November.

There will be no hidden taxes. If anything, property taxes may go down as a result of this initiative. Question 1 conjures up $11 million a year for Maine’s Department of Education, $3 million for tuition relief, $3 million in property tax relief, $2 million to the general fund, and more than $1 million for drug education and addiction prevention. This is meaningful revenue coming at no expense to the state nor the residents of Maine. Casinos already give the state roughly $50 million a year in similarly tax-free returns, and we now have the chance to almost double that.

Investment in Maine that produces revenue and other benefits for the state is a good thing. We entered the gaming industry more than a decade ago. Now there is an opportunity to expand on that and help the industry grow further to the benefit of all.

This includes one of Maine’s most beloved, if struggling, pastimes — harness racing. Harness racing has been an integral part of Maine’s agricultural tradition dating back to the early 1800s, and its continued existence is a testament to the dedication and drive of Maine’s horsemen, both past and present. The industry today is in dire need of new revenue. A 2015 report stated that without new revenue streams harness racing could find itself staring down at “the brink of viability,” an outcome signifying a tragic loss for horse-owners, spectators, and the historic fabric of Maine. Again, Question 1 raises its head as a viable revenue stream to help keep harness racing alive.

The proposed venue would generate an estimated $10 million annually for harness racing, more than doubling the amount currently given to the sport. More revenue means larger winning purses — increasing competition — in turn bringing more spectators willing to wager at the events. Question 1 represents a gift horse for our horsemen and the harness racing industry, one we would be ill-advised to ignore.

We need new, non-traditional revenue sources. We also have a ballot initiative that creates tens of millions annually in a proven non-traditional revenue source. York County’s businesses could use the year-round tourism money, its workers could use the 5,000 new jobs, the budget could use the annual boost, and Maine’s harness racing industry could be in trouble without it. Maine voters can do the arithmetic for themselves — and provide Maine with a huge dividend when they perform their civic duty in November.

We are voting yes on Question 1, and we urge voters across the great state of Maine to do the same.

Tom Saviello, of Wilton, represents Senate District 17. Lance Harvell, of Farmington, represents House District 113.

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