Ohio voters can step up to the plate and hit an economic grand slam. A "yes" vote for Issue 1 on Nov. 5 would touch these four bases:
* More than 21,000 good-paying jobs in northern and southern Ohio--about the same number as General Motors jobs at all Dayton-area plants.
* An additional 12,000 construction jobs during the development period.
* About $186 million annually for all Ohio schools--money that would be earmarked for schools in the Ohio Constitution, unlike the experience with the Ohio Lottery when it was first approved 24 years ago.
* More tourism dollars because of the three riverboat casinos to be located on Cincinnati's side of the Ohio River. Economic studies say Ohio can recapture most of the $1.3 billion a year in gambling dollars projected to go to out-of-state casinos such as the newly opened Grand Victoria II in Rising Sun, Indiana.
Despite scare tactics by opponents and some politicians, more Ohio business and labor leaders, as well as elected officials, are getting on board the campaign for Issue 1. It would permit a maximum of eight riverboat casinos to be licensed and moored on rivers in Cleveland, Youngstown, Lorain, and Cincinnati areas.
The economic grand slam cited above is why the Ohio AFL-CIO--meeting at the Cincinnati Convention Center Sept. 26--overwhelmingly endorsed Issue 1 in behalf of 800,000 working families in Ohio. And the opponents keep calling Issue 1 "anti-family."
Long before the heat of campaign season, a 1993 Cincinnati Department of Economic Development report stated that there would be no need for extra police officers for vice duties if five riverboat casinos were built in Cincinnati. Some new officers would be needed to handle increased downtown tourist traffic.
Yet the opponents keep trying to talk about so-called crime that comes with casinos. Studies have shown that there is little or no impact on crime in communities with riverboat casinos. In some cities, the crime rate actually has gone down after casinos opened.
Issue 1 is …