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Supporting Catskills Casino, Cuomo Says: “New York Is Already In the Gaming Business.”

Lawmakers in Albany have important decisions to make as they face a $350 million dollar budget deficit this year as well as a $3.5 billion dollar deficit over the 2010-2013 fiscal years. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet indicated that he supports raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers to save ailing social programs, but he has released a new comprehensive gaming plan that would allow for the building of new casinos in the Catskills, a once thriving resort destination.

The plan is likely to be introduced in a special session of legislature to be held in January. Speaking of his plan, Gov. Cuomo told the Poughkeepsie Journal:

“We should pursue a comprehensive gaming plan — recognizing the reality that New York is already in the gaming business,” Cuomo said. He called for the creation of “destination gaming locations,” which in past proposals from Albany has included the Catskills, once home to a flourishing resort industry.

“Through this plan we can promote job creation and recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states,” Cuomo said.

Gambling already exists in neighboring New Jersey (home of Atlantic City) and Connecticut. In addition, several Indian casinos exist in New York. By proposing state funded construction of a new casino Cuomo can create jobs and revenue to hopefully offset the need for budget cuts.

Business Week suggested the benefits of legalized gambling to New York:

Legalizing gambling would help “recapture revenue that is currently being lost to other states,” Cuomo wrote. Indian casinos already operate within New York’s borders and slot machines are allowed at the state’s eight race tracks.

Cuomo has also proposed a “New York Works Initiative” to create a fund for financing much needed infrastructure repair. From the aforementioned Poughkeepsie Journal piece:

It (New York Works Initiative) could create immediate construction jobs as well as aid in the long-term growth of companies and attract new employers.

Cuomo called for a second round of regional proposals based on local assets and strengths to fund more job-creating plans. The first round of his proposals for $1 billion in competitive grants is finishing up now.

His job-training program would be aimed at helping inner-city youths land jobs, and cut into what Cuomo said is a 40 percent unemployment rate in inner cities.


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