Pokagon Band urges legislature to protect jobs, kill ‘racino’ bills

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, March 24, 2004

By Staff
DOWAGIAC -- Thousands of Michigan citizens will lose their jobs as well as the loss of millions in revenues if the Legislature approves the so-called "racino" bills, government, school and tribal officials from across the state warned Tuesday.
House Bills 4609-4612 would turn Michigan's seven horse racetracks into casinos by adding 500 to 2,000 slot machines at each track.
The bills are overwhelmingly opposed by Michigan voters and 16 Michigan newspapers.
The bills are pending in the state Senate Gaming and Casino Oversight Committee chaired by Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City.
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Chairman John Miller and New Buffalo Township Clerk Judy Zabicki were among participants at news conferences that warned that the racino bills would do significant economic harm to every Michigan community that relies on casino gaming today for jobs, revenues and tourism.
Mayors, county officials, township officials, school administrators and local road commissioners said the legislation would reduce revenues from tribal casinos that are used to fund equipment, books and technology for public schools, police and fire equipment, road repairs and recreational programs.
A new statewide survey released at the news conference found overwhelming voter opposition to the racino bills across the state (67 percent opposed statewide).
The survey of 600 likely voters, conducted by Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group Inc., mirrored the results of three previous statewide surveys conducted over the past year, all of which showed overwhelming opposition to the racino bills.
News conference participants urged all their legislators to stand up for jobs, revenues and tourism and vote no on the racino bills.
The following local and county officials, public school representatives and Native American tribal representatives from across Michigan participated or voiced their support in Traverse City and Lansing news conferences March 23, urging Sen. Allen and the Legislature to reject the racino bills: