Jobs and tax $ make Issue 3 a wise bet

Ohio voters can no longer hold their heads in the sand and pretend that they can stop their fellow
residents from gambling at casinos, not when the state is virtually surrounded by legal casinos only too
happy to welcome Ohioans . . . and their money.
What defeat of Issue 3 would do, however, is cost thousands of jobless Ohioans employment opportunities
and cost all Ohio school districts and the state’s 88 counties millions in annual tax revenue.
Despite the proponents’ intentions to prevent Ohio’s leaders in Columbus from diverting the tax revenue
from their intended beneficiaries, some politicians in Columbus are already exploring ways to raid the
tax money. Hopefully a coalition of outraged taxpayers, critical media and leaders of local government
and school associations would be able to block any such attempts to divert the funds.
Ohio’s anti-casino stance has always seemed hypocritical given the state’s acceptance of lottery, race
track and bingo gambling. State budgetary woes even forced Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to amend his
anti-gambling position to approve Keno games in bars and drop his opposition to allowing slot machines
at Ohio’s race tracks.
It’s time to legalize casinos and pave the way for the tax revenue and jobs that come with them.
Issue 3 proponents claim its passage will result in 15,000 permanent jobs and 19,000 construction jobs.
Even if it results in “only” 80 percent of those projections it would still mean 12,000 permanent jobs
at $30,000 to $35,000 a year, plus benefits, at a time when nearly 600,000 Ohioans are unemployed.
It will also mean that several thousand Ohioans will go from receiving unemployment benefits to again
paying income taxes.
Some opponents complain that 19,000 of the jobs are “only” construction jobs. In a robust economy, those
construction jobs provide permanent employment. Ohio’s economy hasn’t been healthy for years, and
families of construction workers have been paying a huge price for that.
Another complaint is that some of the new jobs would go to residents of other states. Wouldn’t it be
great to see people start to move to Ohio instead of fleeing from it to states where jobs are more
As for tax revenue, again, so what if Wood County doesn’t get the projected $3,631,395 in new annual tax
revenue? Our county leaders would be smiling all the way to the bank if they “only” got $3 million more
in revenue.
The same goes for public schools. Issue 3 proponents say Wood County’s schools will get $2,311,994 a year
from casino taxes. Schools would not complain if that ended up being “only” $2 million.
The state issue would also create instant tourist attractions for four of Ohio’s largest cities — cities
that need all the help they can get to lure people back to their downtowns.
Ohioans cannot afford to again reject what casino gambling can bring to the state in terms of jobs, tax
revenue and potential tourism.
The state is broke and state Issue 3 can be one large step toward fixing it.
— David C. Miller, Editor