Greater Miami Chamber asks directors to back mega-casinos
By Scott Blake
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce has set a Jan. 4 closed meeting of its Joint Board of Directors/Board of Governors for a vote on controversial plans to establish giant casino resorts in South Florida. But attached to the chamber's potential support are a number of conditions.
As it does on other legislative matters, the chamber will take on position on resort casinos in hopes of influencing the outcome of bills currently being considered by the Florida Legislature. The bills would permit up to three casino projects in Miami-Dade and Broward counties valued at a minimum of $2 billion each.
A memo to board members from Chamber President Barry Johnson said the matter will be included in the chamber's federal and state legislative packages, which the board will be asked to approve.
Included in the packages is a copy of the chamber's conflict of interest policy, asking members to ensure they do not have a conflict before voting. There will be no guests permitted into the meeting, slated to start at 11 a.m. at Jungle Island.
Mr. Johnson's memo states that board members wishing to vote must be in good standing, meaning their chamber dues must be current. Furthermore, he noted that Board of Governors members, along with At-Large Board of Directors members, are invited to discuss the issue, but they do not have voting privileges.
On the destination gaming issue, eligible board members will be asked to vote on the following language:
"The Greater Miami Chamber conditionally supports the establishment of destination gaming resorts in South Florida, provided that:
There will be "full parity' for existing pari-mutuels;
That local governments receive a majority portion of revenues generated to be used to mitigate for any impacts to the surrounding communities and to provide for improvements to public infrastructure, transportation, public utilities, services, reduce property taxes, etc.;
That the holder of license pay for the added social and infrastructure impacts on the community;
That the applicants for destination resort licenses be required to have a workforce that is at least 75% local."
The chamber said it will monitor for compliance of those specified conditions in order to ensure continued support from the organization.
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