Governor Deval L. Patrick
AFL-CIO Leadership Endorses Casino Plan
February 7, 2008
As Delivered

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AFL-CIO President Bob Haynes

Thank you everybody. My name is Bob Haynes. I am privileged to be the President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. We have just concluded our executive board meeting along with the committee on political education meeting where we take up a number of issues to support, a number of candidates that we support.

Of major importance to this state AFL-CIO and to the working people in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the issue of destination resort casinos. We just took a unanimous vote to support the Governor's proposal to advance this economic development issue. We have made a pledge to work closely with the House and Senate to educate the members of the House and Senate along with our own members about how important this is, about how the need for jobs is preeminent here in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the need for revenue in the commonwealth of Massachusetts is extraordinarily important.

We intend to work this process with our grassroots labor movement here in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. We want to tell the Governor as well that we're appreciative of all the good works and effort that his administration has engaged in in the past year on behalf of working families here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This is a tremendous opportunity to advance a positive agenda for this commonwealth and I want to thank the Governor on behalf of the 400,000 men women and families of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Governor Patrick

I want to thank President Haynes, all members of the AFL-CIO executive council. All of the family of organized labor and working people all across the commonwealth for your support of our resort casino bill.

You recognize that our resort casinos proposal is a responsible, forward looking strategy for bringing good jobs at good wages to every single region of this commonwealth. Helping us to not only to secure the futures of working families but also to generate sustainable revenues for services that families and local businesses need and want. Our casino legislation puts over 20,000 new and permanent jobs within our reach as well as tens of thousands of construction jobs.

These would be good jobs with good wages and opportunities for training and advancement. According to reports about the recent Foxwoods union drive, casino employees make 0n average 45-50,000 dollars per year. 20,000 new jobs in this salary range will broaden the range of economic opportunities alongside initiatives we have in clean technology and life sciences for example, and also generate another 50-80,000,000 dollars in new state revenue. Passing the bill will retain the estimated 1.1 billion dollars that Massachusetts residents now spend in Connecticut resorts alone.

With the casino revenue licensing fees and tens and thousands of jobs for the commonwealth we can significantly reduce local property taxes for thousands and thousands of homeowners, fund transportation projects to strengthen our overall economic competitiveness and increase local aid to every city and town in this state. We must have action on this proposal from the legislature.

While we wait, Massachusetts is losing revenue we could use for property tax relief, for road and bridge repairs and for local aid. We are missing out on the opportunity to add over 20,000 new and permanent jobs and tens of thousands of construction jobs and we are risking our ability to ensure that an Indian casino serves the state's best interests. All of these are the costs of inaction.

And I so appreciate that the members of the AFL-CIO executive board have joined us in pressing for action. We know that resort casinos can bring significant economic benefits to the commonwealth, boost state revenues, and play a role in our overall plan for long-term economic strength. Done the right way, resorts can join the many reasons why Massachusetts is an international destination for travelers, for tourists, and a wonderful place to live.

I am glad today to be joined by Secretary Bump, and Director Noel, and on my own behalf to thank the executive council for their extraordinary support and commitment to advocate for this proposal. We are proud to have you by our side and we welcome your partnership. I look forward to working closely with you all to get this done.