See How Central New York Lawmakers are Planning to Vote on Casino Amendment
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on October 09, 2013 at 3:48 PM, updated October 09, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Syracuse, N.Y. - It's an issue that crosses party lines, causes worry for some and offers promises of jackpots for others.
We're talking casinos.
On Nov. 5, voters in New York will get to decide whether to expand casino gaming in the state. Proponents say the gaming will create thousands of jobs and put more money into school districts and help lessen property tax bills. Opponents doubt the economic development promises and say using gambling money for public bills is a regressive tax that takes money from people who can't afford to lose.
So far, most of New York's state lawmakers have had three opportunities to cast their votes on expanded casino gaming in the state.
Those serving in 2012 and 2013 - two different election cycles - got to weigh in on whether the rest of us get to change the state constitution to allow up to seven Las Vegas-style casinos in New York.
Additionally, lawmakers also cast a vote on separate legislation that sets rules for where the first four casinos will go, how the money will be shared, and how compacts with Native American tribes - who already run casinos - will factor into the equations.
But come Nov. 5, the lawmakers will be just like the rest of us, having their say in the voting booth. We asked our Central New York delegation how they would vote. Here's how they answered:
Plans to vote yes
Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson
"I don't know why not," Magee said when asked about the expansion of gaming. "We've already got gambling here, and we're not getting anything out of it."
Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse
Sen. James Seward, R-Milford
Assemblyman Al Stirpe, D-Cicero
"I just think that unfortunately there are a lot of New York people who go out of state" to gamble, he said. "I don't think we should be losing that revenue."
Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida
Plans to vote no
Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski
"I've never been a big believer that this is going to be the economic savior of Upstate New York," he said. "I think we should think twice."
Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse
"Because of the wording on the amendment," he said. "It's like a push poll....It should be a fair proposition."
Assemblyman Gary Finch, R-Springport
"I'm probably going to vote no," he said, "unless something comes up that would change my mind." Finch said he didn't like the way the referendum is presented on the ballot and he's concerned that money from past sanctioned gaming - like the lottery - hasn't gone toward school funding as promised.
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca
"If I had to vote today, I would vote no," she said. "I don't think it's good economic development."
Sen. Patty Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie
"I'm leaning towards yes," she said. "I'm not a fan of gambling. But that being said, we already have some forms of gambling...we already have lotteries and racetracks."