County Commission Weighs in on Casino Issue With Shortsighted View

Posted on Friday, 12.23.11 MIami Herald

Commission weighs in on casino resorts By Martha Brannigan The Miami Herald By Martha Brannigan mbrannigan@MiamiHerald.com In a bid to ensure Miami-Dade County emerges a winner, the county commission has written state lawmakers spelling out commissioners’ resort-casino priorities.A draft letter, approved last week, emphasizes the need for a local referendum on whether to allow the casinos and seeks guarantees ensuring the county and affected cities get a fair share of casino revenues.The letter reiterates the county — not cities or the state — should decide many casino issues because casinos will have “regional impacts.” And it says tax rates for pari-mutuels and resort casinos should be equal. Other priorities include protections for existing businesses and residents, jobs for locals, integrated planning and comprehensive development of roads, and transit. The viability of the Miami Beach Convention Center and the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts must also be part of the equation, the commission said.In its letter, to be sent as the Legislature prepares to take up casino bills in January, the commission says it has yet to take a formal position on the issue, but adds: “If done right, destination resort casinos can provide substantial benefits to the people of Miami-Dade County, particularly during these challenging economic times filled with unemployment and hardship.”

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