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Amid lawsuit business, elected leaders urge New Yorkers to approve casinos
One day before a State Supreme Court judge will hear a case from anti-gambling activists, business leaders and elected officials from around the Albany area gathered to urge taxpayers to approve a referendum to allow casinos in New York State.
Heather Briccetti, head of the Business Council of New York State, was joined by Albany's mayor and the Albany County Executive to push a November referendum, on casinos, they say will create jobs and increase revenue to New York State local governments. At a Thursday press conference the group said 10,000 new jobs across the state would be created and $35 million a year extra would come to Capital Region schools, and local governments.
"To me this is a no brainer," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, who has two months left before he leaves office after deciding not to run for another term.
Officials were asked Thursday about the wording of the November ballot referendum that will go before taxpayers. Proposal 1, as it is referred to as, reads in part "would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing school aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated".
Opponents of gambling say the description of this proposal "paints a rosy picture of gambling". A group has challenged the wording of the referendum in State Supreme Court.
Heather Briccetti said Thursday the proposal is worded just like every other one and "explains what it will do".
"We've got gambling in New York we have charitable gambling, we've got Native American casinos up and operating. Really we have a constitutional restriction. It's like we are doing it already but with our shoes tied together," said Briccetti. "Let's untie the shoes and go ahead and move forward. The purpose to do it is to benefit local communities and local governments."
The group NY Jobs Now plans to run ads up to election day urging New Yorkers to approve the casino referendum, Briccetti said.