RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A proposal to designate millions of dollars from the potential Richmond Grand Resort and Casino to early childcare has been approved. City leaders announced the proposal earlier this month.
At Monday night’s meeting, Richmond City Council members approved a proposal that would use around $19 million in annual gaming tax revenue generated from the proposed Richmond Casino to support the City’s first-ever Childcare and Education Trust Fund.
Supporters claimed the trust fund will address what the City is calling a “childcare crisis,” which city leaders say is only expected to get worse by the end of the month. According to the City, only one in every eight infants has access to childcare.
The proposal hinges on the assumption that the Richmond Casino will be approved by voters in the upcoming November election. Last month, Richmond Circuit Court judge, William Marchant ruled in favor of the casino being on the ballot.
However, not all residents are sold on the idea of a casino in their backyard — regardless of where the money made from it will end up. Some people 8News spoke with said they still believe the casino could potentially exploit city residents and cause more harm than good.
“Access to quality childcare and early education opportunities are limited for too many Richmond families,” said Mayor Levar Stoney in a Twitter post on Monday night. “I’m proud to stand with City Council to say that we are taking action because every child and every family in Richmond, no matter their zip code, deserves access to the resources they need to succeed in life.”
It’s still unclear what the fate of the Childcare and Education Trust Fund would be if the casino is not approved by voters this election. Earlier this month, Stoney suggested raising taxes would be an alternative way to raise funds.
Voters can expect to see the casino referendum on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 7.