According to the Vote Yes Linn County website, if Cedar Rapids voters approve a new casino, we can expect “362 new permanent jobs with an average compensation package of $42,000.” This sounds wonderful. However, it’s important to keep some basic math in mind. Saying the average compensation package is $42,000 is not the same as saying a majority of jobs at the casino will pay $42,000. What is an average salary? The simplest way to calculate an average is to add up all the salaries and divide by the number of positions. For example, let’s say I was opening a business and wanted to hire five people at the following wages: 150,000, 15,000, 15,000, 15,000 and 15,000. So, 210,000 ÷ 5 = $42,000.
The average salary of my employees is $42,000, but the majority of my workers make less than half of that. The same is true at a casino. A majority of the employees at casinos work on the floor, in the restaurants or in the housekeeping department. These are low-wage positions that do not follow regular working hours, requiring late nights and early mornings for a wage that is not livable. Could we use more quality, living-wage jobs in Cedar Rapids? Absolutely. Let’s focus on recruiting those jobs, not casino positions.
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