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Dems back slots, wage raise



Published: Wed, October 18, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The party recognizes there are concerns with the legalization of slot machines.

YOUNGSTOWN -- The Mahoning County Democratic Party's executive committee is endorsing two proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 7 ballot: legalizing slot machines and increasing the minimum wage.

The committee voted 26-0 in favor of the minimum wage amendment and 24-2 in support of the slot machine proposal in a mail poll, said Lisa Antonini, party chairwoman.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lisbon Democrat running as the party's gubernatorial candidate, opposes the slot machine proposal and supports the increase in the minimum wage.

A group of local Democrats, meanwhile, expressed their support Tuesday for Issue 3, which would permit slot machines at the state's seven horse-racing tracks and two downtown Cleveland locations.

The largest percentage of the money would go to the home counties and the owners of the tracks and casinos.

Funds for college

The local Democrats acknowledge that is a concern but support Issue 3 because 30 percent of the slot machine proceeds would go to a tuition fund. Beginning in 2009, the fund would provide money to Ohio students going to colleges and universities in the state.

The main reason for supporting Issue 3, they say, is it would help defray the cost of college tuition for students.

Issue 3 officials say the proposal would generate 44.9 million annually for high school graduates in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

The local Democrats hope the Mahoning Valley could be the location of a satellite casino in the future, but realize there is no guarantee that would happen.




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