10:30 AM EDT, September 11, 2012
First, we would like to thank The Sun for getting it right by pointing out that the opposition's ads against Question 7 are "indeed being financed by an out-of-state casino company that doesn't have Maryland taxpayers' interests at heart" ("A misleading pitch," Sept. 7).
But second, The Sun has unfortunately gotten several facts wrong in its recent editorial. The facts about job creation from Question 7 — the expansion of gaming in Maryland — are these:
Adding table games at Maryland's existing casinos will create roughly 1,600 jobs statewide. Building an $800 million resort casino will create roughly 2,000 union construction jobs during the 2-1/2 year period needed for construction. Operating an $800 million resort casino will require about 4,000 workers. Supporting the operation of an $800 million casino through area vendors and businesses will create another 4,400 jobs.
Why should we believe these predictions of jobs?
For table games, these numbers are produced by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, the trusted nonpartisan analysts employed by the state. For other job predictions, they are based on studies by respected national economic analysis firms.
And for all of the jobs numbers, they are based on experiences from other areas of the country that have added table games to their slots-only facilities and have constructed large destination resort casinos. Maryland won't be the first state to add table games or permit the construction of a resort casino at a desirable location, and the economists' predictions are based on the real jobs created elsewhere.
These are good-paying jobs with benefits. They are the kinds of jobs that Marylanders need to raise their families.
And they are the jobs that the opponent of Question 7 is trying to save for West Virginia and keep out of Maryland. If there's something that all of us can agree on in The Sun's recent editorial on Question 7, it's that opposition to the referendum centers on one out-of-state casino company trying to protect its interests in West Virginia.
Let's create jobs here in Maryland, for Maryland working families. Let's keep those gaming revenues here in Maryland, to pay for Maryland schools and other government services. Don't be fooled by opponents of Question 7.
Rod Easter, Baltimore
The writer is president of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council.
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