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December 09, 1996 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


looks to
,win big
Its front door just 100 yards from the
U.S. border, Casino Niagara opens today
a, lid expectations it will rake in more
money than any Las Vegas gaming hall.
Predictions of 9,000 new jobs and
more visitors to a city already flush
with tourism have Canadian officials
crowing about the four-story, $118 mil-
lion casino, created out of a flagging
shopping mall.
On the American side of the falls,
however, politicians, academics, clergy
and business leaders are wary of their
new neighbor. Although some antici-
pate beneficial spinoffs, many are brac-
ing for another blow to a local economy
where growth must be detected with a
magnifying glass,
"I see these casinos as giant,
money-sucking machines," said the
Rev. Patrick Warren, a Presbyterian
minister and chair of a grass-roots
group called Citizens Concerned
About Casinos in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
"Every dollar put in a slot machine is
a dollar not spent at a restaurant or a
bowling alley."
There's little doubt the casino's
biggest winner will be its owner, the
Ontario provincial government.
Through its Ontario Casino Corp., the
Oovernment will collect a 20-percent tax
on up-front earnings, then take all prof-
its beyond expenses and the cut given to
the Navegante Group, the Las Vegas-
based operating company. Navegante's
share will include a percentage of the
games and depend dn the number of vis-
itors and total casino revenue. Dominic
Alfieri, president of Ontario Casino
Corp., estimates it will total $4.4 million
to $7.4 million the first year.

The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 9, 1996 - 7A
Sec. of Treasury
calls inflation
figures inaccurate

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Clinton admin-
istration officials and congressional
Republicans yesterday endorsed a
Senate advisory panel's conclusions
that government statistics overstate
inflation, opening the door to a discus-
sion that could lead to lower cost-of-liv-
ing adjustments for federal benefit pro-
grams and boost prospects for a bal-
anced budget deal.
Appearing yesterday on NBC-TV's
"Meet the Press," Treasury Secretary
Robert Rubin praised the work of the
commission of five economists led
by former Bush adviser Michael
Rubin said the commission's report
had helped highlight widely recognized

Niagara Falls Mayor Wayne Thomson checks out a slot machine at the new $118 million facility in Niagara Falls, Canada. The
complex Is scheduled to open its doors to the public today.

sary to balance the budget by 2002, the
zero-deficit target year.
Still, having expressed a tentative,
mutual willingness to explore fixing
the CPI, politicians from both camps
yesterday said they had few ideas
about how that effort should proceed.
"OK, so now we both say they aren't
going to attack each other on this," a
senior White House aide said yester-
day. "The big question now is. 'What's
the next step?' "
One thing congressional leaders and
the White House seemed to agree on
was the need to counter perceptions that
they see tinkering with the CPI as a fis-
cal "quick fix" that spares them from
making tough tax and spending choices
to balance the budget.
"This should not be approached as a
budget issue,"
Senate Budget
ould mnot Committee
Chair Pete
ched as Domenici (R-
N.M.), said on
Ssl, ue"Late Edition."
"What we all
ete Domenici need is a CPI
R-N.M. that reflects
inflation as accu-
rately as possi-

At least one official is so confident of
Casino Niagara's success he's made a
private wager.
Navegante president Larry Woolf has
told Alfieri that if Casino Niagara fails
to equal the gross revenue produced by
any single Las Vegas casino, he'll give

Wayne Thomson, mayor of Canada's
Niagara Falls, says the casino is trigger-
ing major economic growth.
Casino and construction jobs are
plentiful, hotels are expanding and
companies are lining up to create new
tourist attractions, he said. With
t o u r i s m



expensive wrist-
"I don't

itI see these

expect to be casinos
winning that
watch." Alfieri moneys)
Experts say m chine
Alfieri may be
right. If Casino - The Rev
Niagara makes Ga;
as much as pre-
dicted, about $480 million a year, it will
be on the same scale as Las Vegas
resorts such as the MGM Grand Hotel
and the Mirage.

as giant,

becoming a
industry, the
number of visi-
tors may
increase from
12 million to as
many as 20
million, he pre-

Some leaders in western New York
share Thomson's upbeat outlook. Jo
Fisher, president of the Niagara Falls,
N.Y., Visitors and Convention
Bureau, said the casino would prove a
major attraction on both sides of the
border. Convention bookings are up
to 57 from 41 at this time last year,
she noted.
Twenty miles to the south, however,
Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello is
more skeptical. He cites Casino
Windsor, which Ontario opened just
across from Detroit in 1994. Eighty per-
cent of that casino's patrons come from
the United States.
"A lot of the money came over the
bridge from Detroit to the casino in
Windsor, and a lot of the problems went
back over the bridge to Detroit,"
Masiello asserted.
Academics who have studied other
casinos say Masiello's fears are well-

inadequacies in
index, the mea-
sure used to
adjust federal
benefit pay-
ments and
income tax rates
to offset infla-
R u b i n
promised that
White House
e c o n o m i s t s

the consumer price
"This S
be approm
a budgeti
- Sen. P+


Patrick Warren dicted.
bling opponent "I can't think
of anything else
that would have stimulated this kind of
interest, this kind of development, the
kind of optimistic spirit that exists in
the city today," Thomson said.

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would work closely with outside
experts in figuring out how to fix the
"I think Boskin had it exactly right,"
Rubin said. "He's put out the report and
now we have to let the experts digest
that report and get a sense of whether
there is a broad-based agreement
around the country on changes that
should be made."
On CNN's "Late Edition," White
House budget director Franklin Raines
said the administration would work
with Congress to study the Boskin
commission's recommendations in an
"expeditious way."
Republican leaders called those sen-
timents constructive, but reiterated
warnings that they would make no
move to revise the CPI unless the
administration takes the lead.
"The ball's in the president's
hands," said House Budget
Committee Chair John .Kasich (R-
Ohio), who followed Rubin on NBC.
"If he wants to make the CPI more
accurate, Republicans will be there to
support him. But if he doesn't want
to do it, we're going to probably be
out there criticizing him for not
wanting to get this right. But we're
just not going to walk out there by
In its report to the Senate Finance
Committee last week, the Boskin com-
mission estimated that the CPI exagger-
ates yearly inflation by 1.1 percentage
points. Correcting an error of that size
could reduce by hundreds of billions of
dollars the total spending cuts neces-

ble," Rubin said.
In their other

comments, however,

Clinton officials and GOP leaders yes-
terday hinted at how difficult it may
prove to reach a budget agreement
without the help of a CPI correction.
For example, Senate Majority
Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), and
Kasich said any budget plan should
include a reduction in the tax rate on
capital gains-profit from the sale of
assets. Rubin said a capital gains cut
"would not be a priority that I or,
much more importantly, the president
would have," although he said the
subject was likely to be "one of the
items that we will have to have in our
ultimate negotiations."
Separately, Lott, speaking on "Fox
News Sunday," chided Federal Reserve
Board Chair Alan Greenspan for ques-
tioning in a speech last week whether
bullish sentiment on Wall Street has
gotten out of hand - a remark that
triggered a decline in stock prices.
"You know, I've always been a little
nervous about the Fed, quite frankly,"
Lott said. "I try not to be a Fed-basher,
but I sometimes think they focus too
much on one side of the equation,
rather than a broader basket of things.
And I'm a little nervous about the
degree of independence they have."
Lott also said, "I think interest rates
should be lower, even than what they
-are, certainly."
He noted that Fed chairs "make mis-
takes like we do," and suggested that
Greenspan probably wished that he had
chosen other words last week.

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ie University of
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