Casinos credit positive for Virginia cities. Now that voters in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville and Bristol have approved casino gambling, Moody’s, the bond rating service, has issued a report concluding that the measures are “credit positive” for the four cities. Bristol expects a proposed casino development will create recurring revenues representing more than 25% of fiscal 2019 general fund revenues. Danville’s proposed casino would increase general fund revenues by nearly 29%. Norfolk’s project would boost general fund tax revenues by 4%, and Portsmouth’s by 7%. Moody’s did not examine the potential negative and unmeasurable loss of tax revenue as casinos suck up dollars spent on other forms of local entertainment.
Casinos credit negative for problem gamblers. “Gambling can be fun,” acknowledges Carolyn Hawley, president of the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling. “However, it can be harmful to some people.” Virginia has reached a “critical tipping point” with gambling, and education, prevention and treatment programs are a priority. “More gamblers are seeking us out with greater needs. We must be able to provide treatment, but we currently don’t have the resources,” Hawley said. However, in passing enabling legislation, the General Assembly “did the right thing” by providing some funding for a Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund. According to Moody’s, gaming taxes will be held in a Gaming Proceeds Fund, of which 0.8% would go to the gambling treatment fund.
$1 Million to investigate racism at VMI. Governor Ralph Northam is asking the General Assembly to approve $1 million to fund an independent investigation of alleged racism at the Virginia Military Institute. A Washington Post article described black cadets and alumni facing “relentless racism,” and Northam, a VMI graduate, announced an investigation into the military academy’s culture, policies, practices, and equity in disciplinary procedures.
Lip service for family involvement. While the Northam administration blames many of the public school system’s ills on structural racism and insufficient funding, Superintendent of Public Education James Lane does acknowledge that parental involvement is pivotal. Says Lane in a recent press release: “Family Engagement in Education Month is an opportunity to highlight the importance of engaging parents and families in the learning process, especially during this challenging school year when many of our students are learning from home because of the pandemic. I encourage all of our school divisions … to recognize the critical role families are playing in keeping students engaged, and to support their efforts.” The state is helping by providing a collection of family-engagement resources. It’s not much, but at least it’s something.There are currently no comments highlighted.