The legislation appears to address, in detailed fashion, land claim concerns and issues relating to the land claim area and appears to be leading toward one casino in the Catskills.
It does not, however, directly address the regional casino impact fund the Governor offered in his prior bill. Instead, it promises future legislation on that subject. The promise of future legislation, however well intentioned, to be negotiated at some future undetermined date, does not serve the interests of my Senate District and the region.
For that reason, I am recommending that the County of Sullivan oppose the legislation in its present form.
Our local education, healthcare, housing, criminal justice, emergency services, transportation, and environment will all be tested by even one casino. I want to make sure the region is protected. There is no reason the Catskill fund cannot be included in the current legislation and I look forward to working with the Governor, Majority Leader and Speaker to make that happen.
(Note to Reporters/Editors: Earlier today, Governor Pataki announced he was proposing legislation to implement a land claim settlement with the Akwesasne Mohawks. That legislation would also result in one casino in the Catskills. The full text of the Governor’s press release can be found at: www.state.ny.us/governor, then clicking on "press releases" and looking under "June 9, 2005.")