Morelle urges "yes" votes for Prop #1
Updated: Friday, October 18 2013, 08:48 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. - On Friday morning, state assembly majority leader Joe Morelle and local labor, business and education leaders gathered to urge voters to say “yes” to Proposition #1 on Election Day.
This push for affirmative votes comes less than three weeks away from Election Day.
If approved by voters, Proposition #1 would allow for the New York state constitution to be changed allowing for four upstate Las Vegas-like casinos.
“This proposal which would allow the state to run casinos will bring nearly $430 million dollars in economic activity and create 10,000 construction jobs along with the other jobs that will be created in the hospitality industry,” Morelle explained.
If voters approve the referendum, Morelle says the Western New York and the Finger Lakes region would get $93 million a year for schools and property tax relief. Specifically, Monroe County would get $15 million a year and Rochester $5.4 million.
“The question is not whether or not New York state should have gaming,” Morelle explained. “We already have it already in a number of different places. The problem is that New York state people go to other states to do gaming. Nearly $1.2 billion dollars leaves New York state in gaming dollars and they invest in other states around the region $1.2 billion of economic relief is what we’re trying to capture.”
However, Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms says casinos are not the way to go about economic development in New York state.
He believes that adding more casinos to New York will drive small businesses away.
“Casinos offer free parking, free transportation, free food and drinks,” McGuire said. “It really gives an unfair advantage that small businesses can't compare to compete. They close up shop. What happens is that the money that comes into the region really only changes where it comes from.”
He says that organizations like his are ramping up their efforts to urge people to vote “no” to Proposition #1.
“The $15 million [coming to Monroe Co.] is what we will see coming from the casino but it doesn’t consider the loss of the income from the businesses in the region and the cost the taxpayers will have to pay to treat the problem gamblers,” McGuire added.
McGuire also believes that the language of the referendum on the ballot is unfair and leans heavily towards a “yes” vote.
The ballot measure reads:
The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Shall the amendment be approved?