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Mayor Dyster DOES have a casino revenue spending plan: spend until the money is gone!

Last week the city reported that their share of casino revenue had dropped once again. While the city’s handle of the annual slot drop peaked around $22 million in recent years the new annual casino revenue reality is now about $5 million less…and dropping still.

The city’s announcement of the tumbling numbers drew near audible gasps as reported in a Niagara Gazette article that featured quotes from the council chair, the city controller and a member of the council’s Finance Review Panel.

The Reporter is questioning the sincerity of those gasps. That’s because the Dyster administration has, for the last eight years, been blowing through the taxpayers’ casino cash like a Washington politician on an overseas junket. To pretend that this spending suddenly comes as a surprise is to insult the intelligence of the residents.

The Reporter contends that the Dyster administration likes the wasteful expenditure of casino revenue just fine the way it is. In fact it was the anticipated casino revenue windfall that brought candidate Paul Dyster’s deep pocketed Buffalo supporters to the table in the spring of 2007 as Dyster planned his run for mayor. It was the scent of the millions in casino cash that drew the cast of Buffalo characters to the pre-election table. We contend that the casino money was the honey that attracted the Buffalo bees.

And so when we read that city employees, elected officials, and finance panel members are now proclaiming that “Oh goodness, the casino cash is running out and we don’t have a spending plan in place! How did that happen?” we want to gag. Such is the breathtaking level of hypocrisy.

The Dyster casino cash plan was to not have a plan to begin with. The only “plan” was to spend the money as fast as it came in because there were construction companies, lawyers, consultants and politically connected hangers on waiting in the wings with their hands out, hoping to access the taxpayers’ millions in casino revenue. The sudden false claim that there’s now a sincere realization that there’s no casino spending plan in place achieves record heights in dishonesty.

The Reporter has written time and again about the immediate need for two things: a casino revenue spending policy and a casino revenue spending plan. The policy and the plan are different, one from the other, just as a hand is different from a glove. And, just as a hand must fit a glove, the spending plan must fit the spending policy.

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