Tell me your thoughts on casinos
To the editor:
Expanded gambling is one of the hot issues currently facing New Hampshire. I have heard from surprisingly few Derry residents on this topic and I’d like to hear more before deciding on my vote.
The proponents make the following points about expanded gambling: it brings much needed revenue into New Hampshire in the form of licensing fees, business profit taxes and increased tourist spending; there is significant popular support; if Massachusetts builds casinos close to our border, New Hampshire residents will go there and spend their money rather than it staying here; building and operating a casino will create jobs; and the current bill protects the revenue of nonprofit organizations that currently benefit from charitable gambling.
The opponents make these arguments: expanded gambling has a negative impact on New Hampshire’s brand and status as a family-friendly, safe place to visit and live; predicted revenues are inflated and profits from gaming in other states have steadily dropped the past few years; often the resort casino that is proposed to gain popular and legislative support ends up being a “slot barn” and eye-sore; the high-paying jobs affiliated with casinos often go to current casino employees who are imported from other states; casinos “cannibalize” local small businesses because people spend their money at restaurants and stores in the casino complex and not in the community; and being dependent on a single industry for revenue leaves our state vulnerable to the influence and interests of the casino industry.
I encourage readers to let me know their feelings on this or any issue; I can be reached at 603-930-3462 or by email at Betsy.Burtis@leg.state.nh.us.
State Rep. Betsy Burtis
Derry has lost too much already
To the editor:
For years Derry has been chipping away at its history in the name of tax revenue, yet we have one of the highest property tax rates in New Hampshire. I submit that the Taylor Library is the latest potential casualty among many since I moved here in 1970.
James MacGregor came here to what was then called Nutfield on April 11, 1719, almost 100 years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and 294 years ago almost to the day.
Derry is hugely underpublicized for its rich history. In my opinion, that has produced a disregard for it and the resulting destruction of it.
The Caroline Murdock White property, the place where the first Irish potato was grown in America, is the most glaring. The town of Derry, with 10 years to do so, chose to sell the property rather than keep it as conservation land. We now have 800 apartments there — as of 1998 the largest housing complex in New England — because the prevailing thought was that it was more important to bring in tax revenue than own vacant land. While it sounded good to some, to others like myself the cost of educating just one child for every four apartments — 200 additional children — negated any tax benefit. In this economy it is most likely more. In came the need for an additional middle school.
Has this been cost effective for the citizens of Derry or was it a great coup for a real estate agent and a developer? One day after ground was broken, Carrie White’s home built in 1779 was gone.
We have just torn down another piece of Derry history — the Pinkerton Tavern — to make way for a wider road to get to Wal-Mart. We forfeited a lovely, successful eatery and piece of history rather than sit in traffic for five more minutes.
We tore down the lovely post office on Broadway rather than do a restoration and recycle it into something else. We now have a CVS with a parking lot you can’t turn around in.
Have our taxes gone down? We have an astronaut born here whose family members donated this building to Derry. It houses a thriving, small town library. We also have a beautiful downtown library whose original building was also donated. How can we as a community one more time choose to close the book on another piece of our history?
When all is said and done Derry has more wonderful history on a national scale than any other town in New Hampshire. An astronaut, a presidential medal winning poet, an academy steeped in history, one of the premier dairy companies in the world began here. That land is at least a golf course but the original Hood Farm is a Chinese restaurant.
Have we seen our taxes go down as we have sold off all our history? I submit that poor decision after poor decision has created our tax crisis. We have been a penny-wise and pound-foolish community. We have been a community full of absent voters; 85 showed up for the school district meeting, only 2 percent voted for town offices. In reality we the people have not shown up to make choices for our town.
Please find the money somewhere else. This is not about one library on the hill, this is about defining who we are as a community. Citizens stopped the Upper Village Hall from being destroyed, now it’s the library across the street. Anybody see a pattern here?