As the wife of a small business owner in Queens, I’ve seen firsthand how this pandemic has affected businesses like my husband’s throughout the borough. But hard-working local business owners like him and his brother keep doing it because they love their craft (pizza!) and their loyal customers at Elegante Restaurant and Pizzeria.
Frank’s place and other locally owned and operated small businesses like Lisena Landscaping, Rockaway Beach Broadcasting Company or the Sincede Hair Salon understand that without the support of the community, they wouldn’t be where they are. They understand what it takes to be a community partner and how important it is to connect with your neighborhood.
And we are fortunate to have a true community partner and economic anchor in another one of our neighbors: Resorts World New York City. In the close to 10 years that it’s been open, Resorts World has become part of the fabric of the community, supporting those in need and empowering others to make a difference through a new initiative known as the “Good Neighbor Network.” The Good Neighbor Network serves to inspire, empower and advocate for social and economic good in Queens and throughout New York State.
In Albany, I’m known as an outspoken advocate for our hardworking families, many of whom have been hit hard over the last year. Many are out of work or struggling to get by. I’m also a member of the Women’s Issues Task Force, because I understand the need to empower women in our communities. The majority of single parents are mothers, who have lost more jobs than men or were forced to quit during the pandemic because they didn’t know how else to handle child care. How can we help these people so they don’t lose their homes, their children or what little savings they may have?
One of Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposals — awarding new full casino licenses — would help New Yorkers, especially communities of color, recover economically. Resorts World exemplifies the type of casino operator that should receive the full license.
Resorts World is uniquely positioned to grow jobs in the immediate short-term, generate much-needed revenue for New York State and further support the local small businesses in the community.
New York cannot wait five years to spark this growth. We need it now.
Take education for example. As a participant in the National Early Learning Fellowship with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and as the parent of students in Queens, I know firsthand the importance of improving the outcomes for all children across the state and how this makes the future better for all New Yorkers. Over the last 10 years, Resorts World has generated $3 billion for New York’s public schools and with a full gaming license, that contribution would increase significantly.
Again, during a time when resources for schools are scarce, Resorts World is uniquely positioned to elevate its support. Let’s empower them to do exactly that.
As an assemblywoman, it is my job to advocate for a better future for the people of Queens. They’re a resilient and diverse group of hardworking people. They rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy and now, almost nine years later, they’re building back again after a different sort of disaster. But we all know, you can’t just rebuild — we need to make sure we are building back better and in a way that is inclusive.
Allowing Resorts World to convert to a full casino is a critical step toward a brighter future for everyone in Queens: from the first-grader to the high school graduate, to the parents, to the small business owner and beyond.
Stacey Pheffer Amato is New York State Assemblywoman for the 23rd District, in southern Queens and the Rockaways.