Cuomo is correct to advertise tourism, wrong to push casino gaming
A casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Gambling was supposed to be the panacea to remedy New Jersey’s funding troubles. As an alternative, a loved ones resort destination has grow to be seedy and the state nonetheless has problems funding training and lowering home tax.
2013 Karen Rubin/news-photographs-characteristics.com
The Cuomo Administration deserves praise for new initiatives to promote tourism in New York State will be an financial and social boon, but the strategy to create three major casino gaming locations in upstate is poor policy.
The Governor correctly recognizes that tourism is a single of the ideal generators of jobs (it is right after all a service enterprise), is largely clean and sustainable, brings in money to localities and tiny organizations with out requiring ongoing outlays of tax money to support this kind of institutions as schools – it is in some sense “free income.” And tourism is one of the healthiest, greatest pursuits for thoughts and body, forging bonds amongst household members and across generations, laying the basis for new learning, opening minds and exchanging innovations and concepts (consider Marco Polo). These are documented advantages of the “Travel Effect.”
But my help for the state’s worthy promotion of tourism does not consist of Cuomo’s push for casino gambling upstate, which he is pushing to get carried out ahead of the Legislature pulls up stakes this session.
There is a huge variation between tourism and casino gambling.
Tourism is a noble pursuit on which to base sustainable economic improvement. I equate tourism to clean-vitality.
Casino gambling, on the other hand, is a lot more akin to fracking and oil drilling, where the economic advantages are contradicted by the resulting damage to the environment and society. The economics of fossil fuels only exceed clean vitality when you fail to consist of all the fees, from degradation of the atmosphere, pollution, international warming and public overall health to checklist but a couple of. In the long run, fossil fuels are economically unsustainable.
Similarly, casino gambling on its face may well seem like a “positive” but not when the true costs are included in the evaluation.
Let’s take the promise of jobs creation. Consider about no matter whether your dream for your little one, why you expended most of your lifelong financial savings to send them to university, is to function as a blackjack dealer. But in most instances, the individuals who perform in casinos are not “locals” at all, but are imported from outdoors the local community. And the tax income that is projected to be produced is countered by the increased expenses of such items as police protection and impact of traffic. Rather of supporting nearby firms (which includes the little, established inns, eating places and tourist points of interest), casino gaming destinations are created to preserve their guests (and their wallets) on website. And who are these businesses? They are not nearby, but rather, huge businesses. As for the revenue side, the state is not a enterprise spouse with these ventures; the “revenue” (which is tax, I presume) the state would get is that portion (not specified) right after overhead, following revenue and whatever else these organizations do to off-shore or out-source in purchase to lessen their tax liability.
The casino gaming initiative is negative policy. But the tourism initiatives that Cuomo has embraced are very worthy.
Tourism sustains heritage and historical past simply because it supplies an financial foundation. This is as true for preserving the heritage of aboriginal communities as it is for preserving historic residences and art collections, waterfalls and river towns.
Cuomo wisely recognizes the significance of travel and tourism as an engine of financial growth and jobs creation – when not all politicos do. Tourism is a distinct boon to modest businesses and has provided a path to the American Dream for minorities and ladies at a tempo that exceeds just about each and every other enterprise. Tourism has breathed new life into communities blighted by obsolete industries – shuttered factories turn out to be eating places and indoor shopping malls, railroads grow to be bike trails, and grand houses are turned into museums, galleries and hotels.
Tourism is the fifth largest employment sector in our state, supporting 714,000 jobs and creating $29 billion in wages in 2012. A single out of every single 12 jobs in New York is tourism-associated. The 202 million international and domestic visitors who visited the Empire State last year created $57 billion in direct tourism paying and $7 billion in state and regional taxes.
In Might, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo hosted New York State’s initial Tourism Summit to hear suggestions from market leaders, enterprise owners and other stakeholders to assist guarantee that the tourism sector continues to expand and develop jobs in New York.
Significant initiatives came out of that summit, like a strategy to devote $60 million in tourism funding, the highest in decades and up from $19 million last year; a new $2 million “I Enjoy NY” advertising campaign promoting travel upstate partnered by the Port Authority and MTA; a new NYS Sports and Specific Occasions commission to allow the state to compete in the $600 billion international sports activities tourism business; new welcome centers at the border and interstate crossings, which have the effect of inspiring much more visits to sights and longer visits; a new International Tourism Campaign: From Asia to South America to spark travel from overseas, especially China and Brazil; new I Adore NY Visitors Center in Instances Square, through a deal with the Occasions Square Alliance; and I Really like NY LGBT niche tourism initiative to market NYS to the LGBT local community, which accounts for approximately $70 billion in tourism paying in the U.S. every year.
These are worthy initiatives. But Cuomo is pushing to open casino gaming locations upstate as their “Promised Land” to revitalize their economies, so far stubbornly resistant to the various methods and attempts, and is pressing the State Legislature to adopt the legislation prior to the end of this session so that a referendum can be place to voters by the fall:
Cuomo’s program specifics a non-political independent method for the siting of resort gaming destinations, new certain criteria for choosing the gaming operators, and a breakdown on the distribution of revenue in a way that advantages numerous localities, counties and the State. Underneath the Governor’s program, upstate New York would be divided into six regions, and three resorts would be bid out with only one particular resort eligible to be positioned inside of a area.
“Our state has a exclusive chance to revitalize the local economies of communities in Upstate New York and develop 1000’s of new jobs exactly where they are required most,” Governor Cuomo explained. “For years neighboring states like Connecticut and New Jersey have benefited from New Yorkers leaving our state to visit their gaming services. We want to reverse this trend by putting new resort destinations in Upstate New York, a approach that will appeal to much more tourists and site visitors to come and store at our nearby companies, visit regional sights, and aid develop new jobs in our communities. This proposal sites gaming resorts through an independent, non-political procedure, to relatively and strategically capitalize on the massive likely gaming has for growing our state’s economic system.”
In creating his case. the Governor’s office thorough the economic affect and jobs potential of resort gaming:
In New Jersey, an estimated 35,500 direct jobs are connected with gaming, and a Rutgers Research estimated over a hundred,000 indirect jobs.
In Connecticut, there are an estimated 14,600 direct jobs, and a lot more than sixteen,400 in Pennsylvania.
The Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut alone employs more than 8,200 people and generates $165.five million in revenue to the State.
Here in New York, Resorts Planet, which does not offer you full gaming and has no hotel, generates $306 million in income to the State while using one,750 men and women.
The effect crosses more than to the numerous small companies supported by gaming resorts. In New Jersey, gaming resorts commit an typical of $2.3 billion yearly with over two,000 independent vendors operating in every single county in the state such as transportation businesses, food vendors, and skilled solutions.
The prepare also sounds effectively intentioned, hitting all the high notes that if you search amongst the lines are meant to reply the key objections to casino gambling, this kind of as the near involvement of linked actual estate and gambling considerations that would revenue, the price to regional communities, and so forth.
Here’s how the Governor’s program intends to solution these problems:
Locations for Resort Gaming Destinations: 3 resorts would be bid out in upstate New York. Beneath the prepare, upstate New York would be divided into 6 regions. Only a single resort could be situated inside of a region.
Indian Gaming: 3 areas in the State have Indian gaming. An Indian Nation with a zone of exclusivity would have that zone honored by the state when siting new resorts, as long as the compact in between the nation and the state is in excellent standing. If the compact is not in excellent standing, the region would be eligible for a industrial (non-Indian) gaming resort.
Evaluation Criteria for Assortment of the Resort Gaming Locations will contain variety of jobs; sum of capital investment (expected floor of $250-$500 million); amount of projected income to states and localities; local assistance (Residence Rule); sum of franchise fee; and vision for growth and integration with regional tourism.
In addition, a series of extra evaluation criteria will include: fast and full financing offered; extensive improvement approach; expertise in gaming development; pace in construction/date of completion; pass ethics and integrity evaluations; workforce development; labor agreement; environmental sensitivity; addressing dilemma gambling [the quite inclusion of this provision signifies that this is a issue that is an end result of creating casinos in communities].
“The selection criteria are the minimal threshold for any undertaking to be accepted in a region, even if no competing projects are supplied. Winning projects would be offered a five-yr unique time period with no further casinos cited in New York City or Upstate. Racinos would be able to compete as properly, and all contracts with horse tracks would be honored. ”
Revenue would be split 10% for the host neighborhood; 10% for counties in the region; and 80% for the state.
Uses of Revenue would be for state schooling assist above the annual formula, home tax relief, and reimbursement for local expenses.
Independent Assortment Commission will contain true estate and finance authorities, and a financial advisor will be chosen by the panel. The Commission is short-term and would dissolve following completion of its function. The Legislature would not be concerned in the assortment approach. [I can be forgiven some skepticism soon after seeing how “effective” commissions can be, with the Temporary Redistricting Commission here in Nassau County.]
This all sounds nicely and very good, but I would recommend that a lot the very same guarantees and protections (to preserve out criminal components, for instance), have been all part of the pitch in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. But casino gaming has not been the boon for Pennsylvania or New Jersey as promised, where casino gaming was supposed to spend for public colleges, just as the New York State Lottery was pitched as making money to cover the expense of public training and senior applications. And yet we all nevertheless have spending budget crises and substantial property taxes. Go figure!
I would also suggest that an analysis be done of the costs associated with casino gaming, in terms of a neighborhood’s cost for police, for roads and other infrastructure, and the diversion of enterprise from other tourism and hospitality enterprises. These totals of jobs and tax revenues that are presented are not necessarily “net” increases.
And the income is the portion left in excess of right after the revenue to the casino operators.
Casino gaming was supposed to be New Jersey’s salvation – that’s how Atlantic City, as soon as the most charming household destination, was turned into a seedy spot which alternatively of revitalizing the surrounding local community as promised, has only developed even more decay. Casino gaming was supposed to make the money for the state to spend for public colleges and senior programs. Inform that to the hundreds of excessed teachers and the residents still bitching about substantial property taxes.
Pennsylvania is the newest state to embrace casinos as their economic panacea, and when I went river rafting in the Lehigh Valley and stopped in a local town, now far more of a ghost town than something, I heard practically nothing but complaints from the pizza guy. Casinos did not deliver organization to the river operators or the regional eateries, at all.
And I can almost assure you that almost none of the hoards that take the buses to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut also cease into Mystic Seaport, the Mystic Aquarium or the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme. It is fantasy to feel the casino destinations will assistance “regional tourism.” And request the home owners along the narrow route leading to Foxwoods how they like the gambling mecca.
Casino gaming will not aid The Thompson Property, a fifth-generation family-owned and operated inn very first established in 1888 in Windham, NY, to hold onto its visitors who come to ski or hike the mountains, take benefit of the zipline at Hunter and Windham, due to the fact casinos, like cruiselines and themeparks, do their level-very best to maintain visitors (and their wallets) on website. And since the casinos are typically owned by massive businesses headquartered elsewhere (like Harrah’s Entertainment and MGM Resorts International), the revenue also get exported out of state.
What is a lot more, these new gaming destinations are deliberately positioned upstate and prohibited from downstate (take that, Shinnecocks!) in buy to lure Prolonged Islanders and New York City men and women upstate.
The false value of casino gaming is that they have to be built from scratch – it is these bucks and these jobs that spark visions of dollar signs. But it is in the end destructive, just as purchasing steel in China to rebuild New York’s bridges undermines US manufacturing and union jobs.
So when the Governor presents figures about how a lot of jobs and how much income would be connected with casino gaming destinations, a fairer evaluation would be the “net” gains – if any – soon after the dilution and diversion from current tourism and hospitality enterprises are factored in and the increased expenses to communities (like social function agencies to deal with gambling addiction).
It is practically as if Cuomo has proposed this ambitious plan to encourage tourism as a implies to disguise the real motive: to get New Yorkers to approve casino gambling.
Indeed, his enthusiastic embrace of casino gaming – and why he is pushing for the State Legislature to adopt the enabling legislation this session so that a referendum can go to voters by the fall – is suspect on its face: Genting, a subsidiary of Southeast Asia’s largest gambling business, gave $2 million to the Committee to Save New York, a group allied with Cuomo performing all individuals fantastic advertisements on Tv aimed at acquiring Cuomo’s professional-business agenda passed so that he will have a sturdy record to existing to the electorate when he makes his move to become president.
I just received back from a reasonably new Hudson River College Artwork Trail in which you get to submerse your self in the exact same beautiful all-natural scenes that the well-known painters, Thomas Cole, Frederick Edwin Church, saw a lot more than 150 many years ago, in the way they saw it: hiking these wonderful mountainsides.
Hudson River School painters captivated the globe with their fierce want to preserve America’s wild spots towards urbanization, industrialization and industrial exploitation, and increase awareness by way of art of the fragile balance amongst nature and civilization. Cole and his contemporaries captured the wild, breathtaking attractiveness of America’s untouched forests, mountains and rivers, laying the basis for what would turn into our National Parks.
Their message then resonates resoundingly today.
Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner
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