New Yorkers voted Tuesday to approve an amendment to the constitution that would authorize seven non-Indian casinos to operate in the state with the promise of more jobs and much-needed revenue to downtrodden upstate regions.
And all but four other state proposals passed with the exception of an amendment that would have increased the retirement age of state judges from 70 to 80. Voters shot down the proposal by more than 20 percentage points, according to unofficial results.
In Suffolk County, nearly two-thirds of residents voted to allow the county to transfer development rights it owns to fire, ambulance, police and library districts, while Southampton Town voters shot down a proposal that would have allowed an East Quogue homeowner to donate land in exchange for keeping a piece of property, including a pool and a deck, that was accidentally built on land that was supposed to be preserved.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who pushed for New Yorkers to authorize casino gambling in the state, called the passage of the amendment “a big win for local governments, school districts and taxpayers across New York State.”
The proposal was largely supported on Long Island with voters approving Proposition 1 by two-thirds of the vote. Fifty-seven percent of voters statewide gave the state the go-ahead to amend the constitution.
“This vote will keep hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year in neighboring states right here in New York, while increasing revenue for local schools, lowering property tax taxes, and bringing proper regulation to the industry,” Cuomo said. “This vote builds on the landmark agreements we reached with Native American tribes this year, ending expensive court battles and unnecessary discord and restoring hundreds of millions of dollars to local governments.”
The measure will also Nassau and Suffolk counties to each open one facility that could support a maximum of 1,000 video lottery terminals.
Voters also cleared the way for the state to legally alter the constitution to give disabled veterans additional civil service credits, allow municipalities to exceed the debt limit to repair sewage treatment facilities, expand mining in Adirondack Park in and settle a land dispute in the forest preserve.