Says state needs the jobs, economic development and tax revenues the measure would produce

The Ohio chapter of the United Auto Workers has endorsed a ballot measure that will ask voters in November to approve casinos in the state’s four largest cities.

“No one knows better than our members what the economic downturn has done to the state of Ohio,” said Ken Lortz, director of UAW Region 2B, which represents 180,000 active and retired workers throughout the state.

Lortz characterized Issue 3, as the measure is known, as “first and foremost a jobs creation and economic development issue.”

“Ohio needs the 34,000 jobs it will create, our cities need the economic development boost, and our local governments and schools need the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue Issue 3 will generate."

The measure, which goes to the state’s voters on November 3, authorizes four casinos, one each in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo. Supporters say the developments will create approximately 19,000 construction jobs beginning in 2010 and 15,000 permanent jobs once the casinos are fully operational in 2013. Proponents estimate they will generate $651 million in taxes each year, with most of the take going to Ohio's 88 counties, its eight largest cities and to every school district.

Charlie Luken, chairman of the Ohio Jobs and Growth Committee and leader of the Issue 3 campaign, said, "This endorsement means a lot because of the UAW's long history of supporting issues that benefit Ohio and its working men and women."

The measure is being heavily backed by Penn National Gaming and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, among others.