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Scrutiny of NY casino ballot question

Albany/Henrietta, N.Y. --- In November, voters in New York State will be asked to weigh in on a ballot referendum that would change the states constitution to allow casino gambling operations.

But the wording of the ballot referendum question is under scrutiny from good government groups as being slanted in a positive way to encourage approval of the measure.

Here is the ballot question voters will see in November:

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?

Some wonder who wouldnt vote to create jobs, fund schools, and lower taxes. Some also wonder why the documented problems associated with gambling arent also taken into account in this question.

It could yeah, said Marty Keating of Pittsford when asked if he thought that question could be misleading to some voters. But again that is their way of trying to get the vote the way they want it they definitely could word it another way."

Well I think it's certainly true, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit) chuckled when asked if he thought the ballot question was bias. Some people obviously have real concerns about it but there's no question it will add dollars to education, it will enhance job opportunities and it will lower property taxes for those communities that have it.

But will the question mislead voters?

"The public is going to be well aware when they vote of what they're voting on, replied Morelle. I think perhaps the legislature might've drafted it differently but that's not our responsibility and I don't think there's a chance this will confuse people because at the end of the day this is a high-profile issue, it's important to a lot of people it's emotional to many. So I think folks who oppose it will get the word out, I think folks that support it will get the word out as well.

The problems of that come with casino gambling, even for those who believe they might vote for the referendum, are a concern.

Most people are educated and know that but it can be an addiction if you're not in control of it, said Lashanda Lott of Rochester. I mean anything can people are addicted to cigarettes, addicted to alcohol it's all about self-control.

Still some others are more skeptical of the promises this referendum appears to make instead of how it is phrased. Will the revenue from casino gambling actually go to funding schools and lowering property taxes?

"A lot of the tax money is not going where it supposed to go," notes Gwen Goodwine of Henrietta. "It better be doing that because there's so much fraud out there, everywhere, in the churches, everywhere.

 
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