Something to think about
I am replying to the letters to the editor over the last few weeks objecting to having a casino in the area.
Since my last vote, this time I must say I will be voting "Yes" on Number 1.
You see, it finally hit home to me. I have two sons that lost their jobs after 26 and 30 years of working at the same place. I, along with them, never in our wildest dreams thought the "bad economy" would dissipate our jobs in management. For me, it wasn't as distressful as I was at the point of retiring. Both sons had families growing up in the area, secure and happy, looking toward the future.
After unexpectedly losing their jobs, where in the area were they going to go to find employment? It would be traumatic for the families to pick up and leave, especially as the spouses already had jobs.
All our area manufacturing operations were either closed or transferred overseas. The only close by, large operation was New Page Corp. Being a manufacturer of paper, they were on unpredictable grounds themselves. The economy was so unstable that no one knew what the future held.
If these men went into the woods business, who was going to buy the wood? New Page would use the paper grade logs. The furniture factories that bought the higher grade lumber for their furniture building were either closed or in the process of closing. Most lumber or logs sold were being shipped overseas. Very little lumber was sold here, as the "bad economy" left people uncertain as to building houses or buying furniture. For a time, lower grade wood went into energy, but that market soon leveled out with the energy prices stabilizing.
My sons were fortunate enough to find work out of town which means they often have to travel out of state, but at least they have work.
I know, being on the "employer" side of business, that in the beginning of starting any business from the ground up, there are many hurdles to overcome. In the event that a casino was built, the management positions would probably be filled by "outside" people in the beginning. I don't believe at this point, many area people are experienced in the casino business. In time, I am sure they would be willing to train local people for these positions. We already have trained housekeeping, waitpeople and maintenance people in the area. Because we have these people, businesses would have to compete for employees. Competition for these jobs should force wages to increase. With the construction of a casino, manual laborers would be needed right away. More manual labor jobs in this area would be embraced by the people out of work.
Any wages generated, however small or large, would have a ripple effect right from state and local taxes to area businesses, services and necessity providers.
Let's take into consideration the "wages." Certainly there will be ground level positions that pay less than the positions at the higher level of management. Wages should reflect this accordingly.
There are minimum wage laws at state and federal level that dictate as to the least amount employees can be paid. These laws also have controls to ensure all employees are treated fairly. If this minimum wage law is not considered in the line of "good paying wage," then we as citizens have the right to get these laws changed to what we feel appropriate.
Under the subject of wages, what about benefits? Is it possible health insurance along with other amenities will be offered?
The "outside people" that might be needed for various positions, must pay to eat, sleep and stay somewhere. Also, many of them have associates that would spend money.
In time, we would probably need increases in our services such as police, school and medical fields, etc. At that time, the money generated by the increase in people themselves should cover that.
Having a casino in the area would markedly increase tourism. People from all over, that are presently coming to our ski area, would enjoy a night out at a casino. Our coastal tourists would have to travel only a short way to include an exciting visit to a casino.
I know Bethel wants to retain its small village atmosphere and I certainly understand this. When the ski area grew and prospered, I didn't see any ill effects that Bethel couldn't handle. I believe having a casino in Oxford would be far away enough to not have any negative effects on Bethel.
I haven't mentioned us (you and me) getting some relief from our already high taxes that cover unemployment, health care and welfare. As taxpayers, we must pay for our less fortunate friends and neighbors that are unemployed. The funds needed for these benefits keep increasing of which we must pay. Who is to say the day may come that we ourselves may need these benefits or services. Let's give the unemployed the dignity they deserve by working.
We only have to take a ride down Main Street, America to see all the closed businesses. The loss of our manufacturing and related operations have caused this. We must take a look at anything we can do to improve our area economy. I believe a casino is in the right direction. A casino would generate much needed money to our local businesses and increase revenues to our state.
Let's do something that gets money flowing in the anticipation it will help turn this "bad economy" around.
Think about it...