Gov. Andrew Cuomo went a little over the top in the wording of a referendum that asks New York voters for permission to expand casino gambling in New York state.
The referendum's wording makes it sound as if casinos are the answer for all that ails New York's economy. The constitutional change is necessary for "purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through tax revenues generated. ..."
New York wants to make itself a tourist destination. While Upstate New York can claim many tourism-friendly amenities - from the beauty of its lakes and outdoors to wonderful museums and attractions in many of its communities - the region is lacking in big-ticket items that will draw visitors. We have seen with the Seneca Allegany Casino the number of visitors drawn to Salamanca from Pennsylvania and Ohio, and Cuomo is banking on similar results in the areas he wants to place new casinos. Cuomo projects adding $430 million a year to the state budget each year by allowing the new casinos, while local communities hosting the casinos will receive a much-needed additional revenue stream.
It is impossible to move New York forward when the populace spends much of its time wringing its hands over any economic development possibilities. We have seen how the delay over hydraulic fracturing has hurt Upstate New York's economy. Now it appears Cuomo has short-circuited discussion of one of the few brick-and-mortar development ideas to come from his administration with his overly flowery description of the casino gambling referendum.
It's just the latest example of New York state being unable to handle seemingly simple things correctly.