To the Editor:
"600 New, good paying, permanent jobs...Millions in taxes to Washington County...casino to purchase local goods and services..."
If Washington County had a dollar for every time we have heard or read this, we wouldn't need a casino. Instead of the same old rhetoric, how about proof, evidence to support these statements.
The casino people are counting on the fact that since Washington County has lost so many jobs over the last couple of years we will ignore all common sense and buy into their rhetoric without question.
Where are they getting all their so called facts?
In one quick search, you will find some very interesting information at the Web site <www.iowagaming.org>. Among other information, there is a list of riverboat casinos in Iowa and the number of people they employ, as well as the number of them that are actually residents of Iowa. Here is the list, with the second number being the employees that are Iowa residents: Dubuque County - 535/418; Lee County (Burlington & Ft. Madison combined) - 329/282; Scott County - 572/325 (Davenport) 887/484 (Bettendorf); Clinton County - 402/317; Council Bluffs (two casinos) - 1,318/741 & 1,130/595; Sioux City - 397/304; Osceola - 552/541; Clayton County - 470/282.
The casino people in Wapello County are promising 380 jobs. So where do they get 600 jobs for Washington County? Of the casinos listed, only the two in Council Bluffs and the one in Bettendorf employ more than 600 people. Are we to believe that they will create 600 jobs in this county when casinos in counties with much larger populations employ less? Also, of all the people these casinos employ, not all live in the county where the casino is. This translates into lost revenue for the county.
Catfish Bend is promising "600 good jobs to Washington County" with an average salary of about $27,000. The casino in Wapello County is promising about 300 jobs with an average salary of about $14,500. Catfish bend operates the casinos in both Burlington and Ft. Madison and they employ 329 people total, both boats. If two boats in two different cities can only employ 329 people total, where do they get 600 for Washington county? Lee County has a population of about 38,000 while Washington County has a population of about 25,000.
Of the jobs they are promising, how many will actually be people from Washington County? Are we to believe that all their positions needed to operate the casino will be filled with people from Washington County? Where is the economic boost in Lee County, Dubuque County, Scott County, Clinton County, etc. Any economic boost in these areas is not related to the casinos but rather to the economic development plans established in each county.
Albert Einstein said, "You can't change current problems with current thinking, because current problems are the result of current thinking."
The current thinking is that gambling will solve all economic woes. Wrong. Let's change the current thinking. Let's not be fooled by their promises of easy money.