Massachusetts officials must find an alternative to balance the $28.16 billion fiscal 2009 budget as Gov. Deval Patrick's initiative to raise $124 million from casino development, which was expected to help close next year's $1.3 billion budget shortfall, died in the legislature last week.

The governor's fiscal 2009 budget proposal includes $124 million of casino license fees to offset an anticipated decrease in state lottery revenues, with those funds going to cities and towns in the form of local aid. Yet the House Thursday night voted 106 to 48 against Patrick's plan to build three casinos in the state, eliminating the possibility that state could generate revenues from casino development.

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