At the Reader
Springfield Chamber of Commerce Endorses MGM, YES VoteJuly 11, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., July 11, 2013 – The Board of Directors of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), an affiliate of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, has announced its endorsement of the MGM Springfield gaming resort proposal and a YES vote for the July 16 referendum question.
According to Chamber Executive Director Jeffrey S. Ciuffreda, the Chamber has been reviewing the issues for nearly a year, engaging all developers, consulting with chambers of commerce throughout the United States that had casinos in their cities and completing extensive analysis. As a result, in September of 2012, the Chamber openly endorsed a Springfield-based casino. “We wanted to be sure we thoroughly understood the issues and understood how to capitalize on the positive impact an $800 million investment would have on the city and the region and minimize any potential drawbacks,” said Ciuffreda. “In the end, we determined that the benefits of the opportunity far outweighed any reservations.”
Ciuffreda said that now that the city of Springfield has chosen MGM as its preferred applicant for the sole western Massachusetts license, “the Springfield Chamber stands firmly with the city on its decision and supports a YES vote on July 16.”
Ciuffreda said the economic advantages of the MGM proposal such as jobs, increased tax revenue, business development and community support were “not to be denied.” Ciuffreda cited the analysis which estimates 2,000 construction jobs followed by 3,000 permanent jobs as one influencing factor on the Chamber’s decision. “With jobs come opportunity - opportunity for educational and professional advancement, financial stability and financial independence, home ownership, and the list goes on. And with jobs come increased disposable income. All of this for Springfield residents and the region,” he said. Ciuffreda noted that the business community will also reap benefits from the project. “Dollars will be spent locally with existing businesses, expanding businesses and fueling our future entrepreneurial opportunities,” he said.
Ciuffreda also cited increased tax revenues as another factor of the Chamber’s endorsement. “Tax revenues, from property taxes, meals taxes and hotel room taxes, along with several other dedicated funds to be paid by MGM as committed to in the host community agreement will flow to the city. These added revenues will aid the City in enhancing public safety, supporting our school system, maintaining roads and parks and much more,” he noted.
Ciuffreda also said that MGM has been working with the Chamber on a business development program which will allow local businesses to become vendors of goods and services to the resort. The host community agreement provides for $50 million per year of procurement opportunities for locally-provided goods and services to meet MGM’s needs. “The Chamber is now very involved in reaching out to our members to determine what the supply of these goods and services is in our area and to assist any and all businesses in qualifying as vendors and increasing their production capacity if need be,” he added.
The Chamber also lauded the community support commitments made by MGM. “MGM has committed itself to the city and its people and incorporates our world-class entertainment and recreational venues into their plans to help solidify the future of these great venues,” he noted.
Ciuffreda said the Chamber believes this is a tremendous economic opportunity for the city and the region. “This project means jobs, income for individuals and families, property upgrades, discretionary spending kept within the community, enrichment to our existing cultural and recreational treasures, financial assistance to Springfield, and economic opportunities for all,” he said. “That is why the Springfield Chamber of Commerce urges its members and the citizens of Springfield to embrace MGM and vote YES for the city’s future on July 16.”