NORTHAMPTON COUNTY- Northampton County Police are the beneficiaries of over $188,000 in gambling money from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem PA. This follows a round in April that approached $1 million. This is legalized graft, plain and simple, and it creates an unholy alliance between the Sands and the police, with you, the "taxpayer" being on the short end of any issue that might arise between you and the resort. It also makes you, the "taxpayer," the fallback guarantor should the source of funding from the Sands dry up.
Here is an excerpt from a news report from the Lehigh Volunteer:
BETHLEHEM- Northampton County Police are set to receive a major infusion of cash from the County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority. More directly, the cash is coming from the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
All told, the revenue sent into the fund by the resort for the second round of grant awards this year amounted to $476,830. From that amount, the authority will be sending $188,107 of it to various municipal police departments that can demonstrate how the funds will help them offset the cost of having the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem.
.....In that first round of funding, 13 total grants were awarded, for a total of $1.6 million. In addition to the Northampton County Police department, the Freemansburg Police Department funded the retention of one office while Bethlehem Township purchased two new police vehicles....
For more information, read here.
The media in the Lehigh Valley is largely reporting this transaction almost as a matter-of-fact, using the sanitized language of bureaucracy to deliver a news piece that, on the surface, seems straight forward, but is, intentionally or not, simply agit prop for the government.
Not in any of the stories that I could find, save for the one I wrote for the Volunteer, did I see any news outlet offer any questions of the nature of this transaction. Just to be clear, let me rewrite this story in more frank, honest language.
The County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority is operating like a money launderer between the Sands Resort Casino and the Police Departments in the Lehigh Valley. By sending money to this authority, rather than giving the money directly to the police departments, Sands Resort is no longer paying graft, but is simply paying what amounts to a tax (never mind that taxation is ACTUALLY theft).
The Authority, in essence, washes the money with government ‘legitimacy,’ magic, or special rights that governments have that you or I do not have.
The further opportunities for graft abound, as officials are free to assure that any contract work the police will pay for could very well be awarded to companies that the decision makers have some interest in. This is not to suggest that this has happened in this case, only that the conditions for such graft to take place are pregnant with possibility.
In addition to the graft, the legal graft, and the opportunity for further graft, the connection the police now have with the Sands Casino Resort creates a real conflict of interest for them. If the Sands is funding their new programs, their new gear, how likely do you think it is that these police departments will side with the average ‘tax payer’ over a million-dollar provider of funds for their department?
Human nature being what it is, I’m putting my gambling dollars on the Sands over you.
And finally, the Sands is funding the creation of programs, the purchasing of new gear, the retention and/or addition of officers, all of which creates continued costs year after year. This creates what policy wonks call an unfunded mandate.
By creating programs, the police departments are creating continuing costs to maintain those programs. By purchasing new equipment, the police departments are creating continuing costs to maintain that equipment. By adding or retaining officers, the police are creating continuing costs to retain those officers.
Who will pay for these added continued costs should Sands Resort not do so will in any given year, or, heaven for fend (from the cop’s perspective) the resort shut down? Why, you, the “taxpayer,” the one the police will have to target for collection, added collection, if their current cash cow, the Sands Resort, goes belly up.
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