Letters to the Editor

December 03, 2009

Better-paying jobs a good reason
to support table games

To the editor:

We are consistently bombarded with phrases such as "affordable housing, affordable health care, living wage, etc." I want to look at one of these claims in depth and pose a question to the readers.

As we all know, on Saturday, Jefferson County residents will be asked to vote on whether Penn National Gaming will be allowed to expand Charles Town Races & Slots by offering table games as one of their products. Penn National has stated that there will be about 500 or so new "good paying "jobs if table games are approved. Let's look at this statement and then answer the question; Are these good paying jobs?

Factor 1: Penn National has indicated that the majority of the jobs created will be card dealer positions with a starting pay of $40,000, topping out at $65,000, so let's start there. Using the federal government's GS wage scale, effective January 2009, these beginning jobs fall into GS 5 Step 8 to a GS 7 Step 1. On the top end of the dealer positions, after experience and additional gaming skills have been developed, these jobs would fall into the GS 10 Step 4 to GS 11 Step 3 at $65,000.


To better understand the government's structure Grade 1 Step 1, the lowest-paid government service position, begins at $21,592 and goes to Grade 15 Step 10, the top of the GS pay scale, which tops out at $153,200.

Factor 2: Penn National has stated that they intend to hire local workers "as much as possible." This would indicate that commuting expenses should be relatively low. Typical commuting costs average $3,000 or more per year and between 1 and 2 1/2 hours each way in commuting time per day for jobs out of the area.

Factor 3: Penn National has a health unit that acts as a no charge "Walk in Clinic" that attends to the basic health needs of their employees and their families. This will lower the cost of overall health care services required by the employees. As an additional benefit, the access to health care will have a positive effect on their disposable income and their overall well being.

Factor 4: Penn National has stated they will be hiring additional employees in the $50,000 to $80,000 range, which equates to GS 8 Step 7 to a GS 12 Step 4.

Factor 5: Penn National indicates that there will also be a few positions in the $75,000 to $100,000 range, which equates to GS12 Step 2 to a GS13 Step 6.

So now that we have the wage comparison to one of the largest employers in the Tri-State area, the U.S. government, does it make good sense, based on the above data, to vote yes to table games and add jobs that pay between $40,000 and more than $100,000 to our revenue base? We say it does and that is why.

Citizens for Better Government in Jefferson County supports the table games referendum.

Ed Burns
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.
Chairman of Citizens for Better Government Jefferson County

Vote against table games in Jefferson County

To the editor:

Jefferson County should vote for jobs by voting against table gambling on Saturday.

Gambling keeps away better employees. It is dangerous and addictive. Gambling often leads to other vices.

Jefferson County, home of Charles Town Races & Slots, is in the Washington, D.C., area according to the U.S. Census, but we have not attracted many high-paying, Washington-area jobs as the other suburbs have. Most employers have had losses from addicted workers, so they don't want to locate where gambling and related vices are so legal and popular. The other Washington suburbs mostly don't have table gaming or slots, so they have better jobs.

Table gambling would make Jefferson County even less attractive to employers. The Washington Post's employment ads indicate the jobs we can get by restricting our vices.

If we get table games, its income will rise and fall because of competition as racetrack and slot income rose and fell because of competition. Maryland and Pennsylvania now have slots. Those states will probably get table gambling soon after Jefferson County gets a few million dollars from it. Other counties, Web sites ad even cell phone programs can compete against our vices.

Contact for free information.

Robert Morris
Charles Town, W.Va.

PSC needs to keep the ball rolling on PATH

To the editor:

In these difficult economic times, there are many things that are out of our control. We cannot always control when a plant is going to shut down or when workers are going to get laid off, but when we have an opportunity to create jobs and spur economic growth while at the same time securing our energy future for years to come, we need to take advantage of that situation.

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