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City should not be betting on our future

It has become evident that in their quest to raise additional revenue, cities across the country have resorted to a variety of measures designed to generate much needed cash. Syracuse is no exception. In our dire financial straits we need to find ways to take the burden off property owners' backs.

Escalating costs are forcing towns and villages to review, and at times combine, resources in efforts to save money.

The city of Syracuse is actively seeking to embrace gaming or gambling as a way to increase revenue, therefore decreasing the need for property tax increases.

Gambling is a horrid way to raise funds for a municipality, in my opinion. We might as well invest in a crack house and install pole dancing in Clinton Square. Giving funds to Say YES to Education conjures up visions of better school funding promised with the introduction of the state lottery... remember that?

Playing numbers, betting on horses, and playing the slots for some is a relaxing, entertaining way to spend time and money -- if you have it. However, we see time and time again the impact of gambling on our community. Especially how it affects the poor. Our area has experienced increased bankruptcies since the legalized gambling has arrived on the scene.

For many people gambling is addictive, like crack cocaine or Oxycodone. It's as addictive as any drug you can buy at the pharmacy or from your local drug dealer.

How many times have you waited in line at Byrne Dairy for milk only to stand behind someone in $4 PayLess shoes, child in tow without an overcoat when it's 30 degrees and momma or daddy's spending $80 on "a dollar and a dream?"

These aren't just your high-rollers going to the casino. It's the grandmas on fixed incomes, lured there by vultures circling Senior Centers with free plays and bus trips to entice them.

Yes, the city needs additional funds to operate without raising property taxes but betting on our future should not be one of them.

Ken is the editor of Urban CNY and weekly columnist for The Eagle. Reach him at kjackson@urbancny.com.

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