Mail Call: It’s stunning how much the state gets

By Bernie Baumann

Writing as a “regular old Joe taxpayer,” not as a post commander, I wonder why such a giving American Legion post like Post 1776 in Apple Vallley, and the many others scattered around Minnesota, can’t keep more of the money raised from gambling operations in the local community that supports the games, programs and posts? Why don’t elected representatives fight for their local communities, our veterans and the other fine people trying to invest in our own neighborhoods?

The January Issue of the Minnesota Legionnaire had a small but insightful article on American Legion post-level charitable gambling. The article reported the top 45 posts, in order of gross gambling receipts, and the top three were Bayport Post 491, Chanhassen Post 580 and Apple Valley Post 1776.

The article mentioned 193 Legion posts and units are licensed gambling organizations in our state. What really caught my eye in this news piece was, “In the fiscal year that ended in June, 53 percent of LPE (lawful purpose expenditures) went to paying taxes and fees. That’s 53 percent of the money raised did not go to charitable efforts or programs.”

Wow, that’s 53 percent shipped to 75 Reverend Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, Saint Paul, Minnesota, the State Capitol. That’s 53 percent that could stay in Apple Valley, Rosemount, Farmington and other small towns around Minnesota, help our veterans, and our veterans’ families. Post 1776 is a very charitable organization, just ask any local school, arts organization, youth group and veteran families in need.

The Post 1776 pulltab and bingo operations isn’t like BIG GAMBLING that you’ll find in Onamia, Welch, Hinkley, Prior Lake or Morton. Do you think those operations give back to our communities like posts and units do around their neighborhoods in Minnesota? I don’t see any contributions coming back from casino gambling to Apple Valley and the surrounding communities, do you?

I wonder why local legislators prioritize BIG GAMBLING over local veteran organizations? As a local “regular old Joe taxpayer and voter,” I’ll have to raise the question next November. Is your local representative fighting for your community?

Bernie Baumann
Apple Valley Post 1776