After months of meticulous planning, preparation, and often times contentious debates, the fate of new York governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to expand gambling in New York now lies in the hands of state voters.
The decision is expected to be made today when voters take to the polls to vote on Proposition 1, one of six ballot questions that calls for an amendment in the state’s casino laws.
Should the amendment get a favorable nod from voters, Cuomo will finally get his wish to expand casino gambling in New York, which would specifically add a total of seven Vegas-style casinos all over the state.
As part of the proposed amendments, a first batch of four casinos would be developed in three upstate regions of New York, namely the Catskills, the Capital Region, and the Southern Tier just along the Pennsylvania border. Incidentally, none of the proposed casinos will be built and developed anywhere near the gambling establishments already set up and operated by Indian tribes.
Cuomo has long been a proponent of adding more casinos to the state as a way to drive up tax revenues, which the governor estimates could reach as much as $420 million. That’s money that, in the eyes of those backing the passing of the legislation, could be used to bolster up the state’s education system. According to estimates, $94 million of that revenue stream would earmarked for that sector, something city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew explained as a welcome infusion of funds to the state’s current allotment for the education sector.
“Ninety-four million will buy a lot of materials for the schoolchildren of New York City,” Mulgrew told Glenn Blain of the New York Daily News.
Mulgrew’s take is one of many points the state’s pro-casino group has thrown out in an attempt to rally voters to their side. At the same time, opponents of the proposition have been equally vocal about what they believe to be the state’s grand ‘hood-winking’ of its taxpayers. Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long is against the passing of the proposition, calling it the “biggest hoax that is being portrayed on the taxpayers in New York that I have seen in many years”.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Cuomo’s plans.
David Blankenthorn of the Institute for American Values is on Long’s side on this issue and while he was a little more diplomatic about his belief of the issue, his comments to the Daily News essentially echoed what Long was saying, albeit in a more polished way of getting his point across. “It is a regressive way for the state to raise revenue,” Blankenthorn said.
“It takes money away from the have-nots and gives it to those who have.”
While both sides have said and drawn the lines on the proverbial sand as far as their beliefs are concerned, the final decision ultimately lies on the state’s voters.
Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to see if Governor Cuomo’s push to expand casino gambling will be given the green light or be sent back to the drawing board.