Can Casinos save Everett?
Apparently that is what the city’s Mayor happens to think. According to Carlo DiMaria:
“We’re excited to bring this to the residents,” DeMaria said in brief remarks this afternoon. “We think we’ve struck a good deal for the community.”
The details of the deal:
The agreement calls for a one-time $30 million payment to a Community Enhancement Fund — which would be paid during construction of the 19-story, gleaming bronze resort casino proposed for a former factory site on the Mystic River. The one-time $30 million payment will likely be spent on capital improvements, such as police and fire stations, the mayor said.
Other payments include: $25.2 million annually to the city — $20 million in real estate taxes, $5 million for a community impact fee that would go to police and fire services, and $250,000 to support community groups.These payments will increase by 2.5 percent each year, according to a summary of the agreement released by the City of Everett.
Much like the now derided parking meter sale to Morgan Stanley in Chicago, this deal nets a short term cash increase for short term political purposes but will yield long term consequences. Among these are immediate issues of parking and congestion on the already outdated and overutilized Revere and Mystic Parkways, and the deal included nothing about easing that congestion with new transit expansions or options. Additionally we have long term crime impacts which are proven, along with eventual losses to small businesses in the local community as out of city and out of state travelers skip straight to the casino and it’s prime rib buffets. The social costs of gambling are incredibly high, and as the empty hotels in Vegas can attest to, are not the greatest investments to make in the middle of a recession. The jobs created are mostly low paying service jobs that can be easily slashed when the going gets tough and Wynn is a well known union buster. It would make better sense for Springfield to build a monorail than for Everett to build a casino.
I also cannot believe this was passed without any local input, input from surrounding towns, or permission and input from the state. If the legislature had the courage to pass Gov. Patrick’s budget Everett would get much needed local aid and we would have tangible transit and education investments across our state. Instead, in that policy vacuum, hucksters like Wynn will descend upon decimated cities and offer the short term easy way out. Never bet against the house, it always Wynns.