Rep. Fudge Comments on Obstruction of Casino Construction

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) made this statement today regarding the halt of construction on the voter approved casino in the Higbee building in downtown Cleveland.

“Governor Kasich’s budget has obstructed construction of the casino, hurting the local economy and preventing owners from hiring thousands of workers. This environment of uncertainty will stall economic benefits gained from the casino, delaying taxes to local governments and schools, and restricting the creation of construction jobs, said Congresswoman Fudge.

“This is not the first time the Governor has obstructed job creation in our state– he made sure Ohioans would not benefit from the high speed rail system by refusing funds that would have created jobs and stimulated local economies in 2010– but we cannot allow the current issue to stall progress in our economic recovery.”

Following his election to office last year, Governor Kasich refused to take $400 million in federal funding to build a high speed rail system in Ohio, resulting in the loss of an estimated 8,000 jobs and delivering a blow to the Buckeye State as it struggles with high unemployment and budget deficits.

Background

Ohio voters gave approval to build the casino in a 2009 constitutional amendment, which set one-time licensing fees at $50 million per project with an ongoing 33 percent tax on revenue. However, the Republican Governor’s state budge requires casinos to pay a .26 percent commercial activity tax on all bets placed. Casino operators maintain they should be taxed on gross revenue after winnings are paid out.

In April, Governor Kasich hired two out of state consulting firms to advise on gaming policies and ways the casinos can benefit Ohio. Taxpayers will foot the bill, at the rate of approximately $400 an hour.

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