Friday, December 9, 2016

The art of the deal with Harrah's: Strictly business

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a long-time Delco pol who made a point I had not thought of.

He was commenting on the election of Donald Trump, and then segued into yesterday's big news of the day in these parts, the deal that was struck to keep money flowing from Harrah's Casino in Chester to both the county and city of Chester's coffers.

One of the key players in the deal was state Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield.

The pol was talking about Trump's flurry of actions in his first couple of weeks as president-elect when he made a comparison to McGarrigle.

"That's what happens when you elect businessmen," he said. "They get things done."

He went on to specifically say we could use more businessmen in office, as opposed to lawyers. McGarrigle had lots of help from Sen. Tom Killion and others in the Delco delegation.

McGarrigle for years operated a service station in Springfield before running for township commissioner. From there he pole-vaulted to County Council, eventually becoming chairman. He ran and won the 26th District state Senate seat that was vacated by the retiring Sen. Ted Erickson.

On our editorial page today, we talk about just how important the deal with Harrah's was to the county, and even more so to the city of Chester.

When you get your county tax bill next year, you will notice it's the same as last year.

That would not have happened without the deal with Harrah's, which means that $4.3 million will continue to go to the county, while Chester will continue to receive $10 million, a quarter of its annual revenue.

In deference to the president-elect, I guess you could call this Delco's version of The Art of the Deal.

Nice work, guys.

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