By Heather Briccetti
It’s not always easy to find bipartisan agreement in today’s hyper-politicized world. Democrats and Republicans are at odds over everything—whether it is healthcare, how to improve the economy or the direction in which to take the country.
But here in New York State we know that the most important thing is to create jobs for working, middle class New Yorkers, invest in our local economies and generate additional revenues to support schools and other public purposes.
That is why Proposal #1 has done something that we don’t often see today: It has brought people together to find a way to succeed. Republicans and Democrats, business and labor—we all agree on Proposal #1.
Bipartisan support on this issue is so strong that even political opponents who are competing with each other are taking a break from their heated campaigns to join together and talk about the benefits of Proposal #1. Just two weeks ago Tom Suozzi and Ed Mangano, both running to be the Nassau County executive, took a break from their contentious race to join each other on stage with local business and labor leaders to talk about the more than $60 million Proposal #1 is going to send to Long Island every year.
And on Nov. 5, Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota will be checking the same box—both voting “Yes” on Proposal #1 for the more than $94 million dollars it will send to New York City every year.
There is a reason we are seeing this kind of leadership coming together to advocate for Proposal #1. Elected officials and leaders from across New York recognize that New Yorkers are spending an estimated $1.2 billion a year on gaming in states that are right next door, like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. They know that it makes no sense to put ourselves at a disadvantage, which is why we need to pass Proposal #1 and bring that money back home. We can invest it in our schools, our local governments and to help roll back some of the property tax burden that is squeezing people all over this state.
Passage of Proposal #1 will do even more. Proposal #1 creates jobs—more than 10,000 of them. Good-paying, long-term jobs that are going to help boost the state’s economy, put people back to work and allow them to invest in their local businesses. That is another reason there is such strong, bipartisan support for passage of Proposal #1.
While locations have yet to be determined, some candidate communities, like Sullivan and Tioga counties, have seen virtually no net job growth over the past 20 years. These resort casinos will bring crucial new investment, activity and jobs to these struggling communities.
What’s more, the increased tourism traffic in the new casino areas is going to be a boon not just to local businesses but also to the state as a whole. As local businesses profit, they are going to be able to hire more workers and reinvest in their communities. That is going to expand our workforce, spur economic growth and create opportunities for more New Yorkers.
Local politicians from both parties also realize that their constituents have concerns about the impact of casinos in their local communities, but the reason they continue to come together in support of Proposal #1 is because they know New York State already has gambling, including racinos and Native American casinos. Proposal #1 doesn’t authorize gambling in our state; it maximizes the benefits of gambling and it ensures that we New Yorkers will have the strong local control and help for problem gaming that communities demand and deserve. In fact, it would authorize only four new casinos upstate, but every New Yorker would share in the benefits whether their communities are hosting a new casino or not.
It is too rare these days to see people come together to support something that can help their state or their community. Too often political ideology trumps what is best for people, but as I said, here we know what’s right, and we’re going to stand together to support it.
Heather C. Briccetti is president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, Inc.
Tags: Andrew Cuomo, Bill De Blasio, Business Council, casino, connecticut, Democrat, Ed Mangano, Heather Briccetti, joe lhota, Nassau County, native american, New Jersey, New York, pennsylvania, proposal 1, Republican, Suffolk County, Sullivan County, Tioga County, Tom Suozzi