Skip to comments.Pennsylvania Governor OKs Gambling Bill
Posted on 07/05/2004 9:55:48 AM PDT by Josh in PA
Pennsylvania Governor OKs Gambling Bill
By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Writer
BENSALEM, Pa. - Gov. Ed Rendell signed laws on Monday authorizing 61,000 slot machines in Pennsylvania more than any other state except Nevada and using most of the state's share to pay for a $1 billion cut in property taxes a year.
Revenue from the slot machines, which would be located at 14 sites, including seven horse tracks, would be used to cut property taxes by an average 20 percent.
Rendell, a Democrat who had made slots-for-tax-relief the centerpiece of his 2002 election campaign, signed the bills at Philadelphia Park, the thoroughbred track that produced Kentucky Derby-winner Smarty Jones.
"It isn't a panacea, but it certainly isn't the demon it's been made out to be," Rendell said. "It's a good, significant step on the road to property-tax relief."
Opponents of the slots bill predict a proliferation of crime, gambling addiction and other social ills. They complained that the bill was crafted in secret by a handful of party leaders and lacks adequate safeguards against corruption and conflicts of interest among members of the state panel that would oversee the slots parlors.
Proponents said the law would allow the state to recapture much of the money Pennsylvanians pour into slot machines in neighboring states and help revive the state's horse racing industry.
The property tax reduction will not be immediate. Officials say the initial relief would be deferred until at least 2006 to allow time for the slots parlors to obtain licenses and gear up.
Of the roughly $3 billion a year slots are expected to generate, the licensees would keep 48 percent, the state would get 34 percent and the rest would be divided among the equine industry, public construction projects, and counties and municipalities in which slots parlors are located.
Ultimately, state taxes on slots are expected to generate $1 billion a year for reducing property taxes in all but one of the state's 501 school districts. In Philadelphia, there would be reductions in the city's income tax.
A new gambling commission would issue slots licenses to racetracks, resorts and other sites for fees ranging up to $50 million apiece. Seven licenses would be granted to horse-racing tracks, including ones not yet built. Five licenses would be given to standalone sites and two licenses would be given to resorts.
The law makes Pennsylvania the 18th state to legalize slot-machine gambling, not including casino" STYLE="text-decoration: none; border-bottom: medium solid green;" HREF="http://search.targetwords.com/u.search?x=5977|1||||casino|AA1VDw">casino" STYLE="text-decoration: none; border-bottom: medium solid green;" HREF="http://search.targetwords.com/u.search?x=5977|1||||casino|AA1VDw">casinos run by Indian tribes, according to the American Gaming Association.
The House approved the measures Sunday. The Senate approved the slots bill Friday and the tax bill early Saturday.
Think of it as secular tithing. Voluntary support for gov't functions. Once they allowed the Lottery it was just a matter of time. They might as well go ahead and legalize prostitution, maybe eliminate the property tax altogether.
Otherwise known as the Philidelphia/Rendell windfall!!!!
Don't bet on it.
I don't think of gambling as voluntary support as much as an inverse tax on mathematical knowledge.
In economics, we lovingly called lotteries the 'stupidity tax.'
Two major racetracks in Pennsylvania right now.. Philadelphia and Grantville (20 miles east of Harrisburg).
Southcentral PA stands to make big.
Only 14 locations?
This would obviously hurt hundreds (if not thousands) of other Pennsylvania businesses involved in the entertainment/tourist industries for the benefit of only a few. IMHO, if such gambling is legalized, licenses should've been made available to any Pennsylvania business establishment that also has a license to serve beer/wine/liquor. Let the "little guys" remain competitive, whether they're a local Mom & Pop tavern or night club, or a vacation resort in the Poconos. Don't place them at a disadvantage.
Only 14 locations is an obviously corrupt system to benefit the politically well-connected.
The slots parlors at the 3 Delaware Horse Race tracks are going to be devastated by this..............one of them is only a few miles from the PA/DE line and gets most of it's patrons from MD and PA.
Low end conservative losses in Delaware start at $30million a year.......and Maryland will most likely follow suit in the very near future.
The "14 locations" are 7 racetrack (3 of which haven't been built yet), and 7 Off-track wagering facilities.
And did we expect anything different from Rendell and his RIOTLUA cronies. (That's Republican In Order To Loot Us All.)
Here in TX they said our lottery would increase funding to education (the sacred cow of gov't). It has, but now they are trying to find **another** source of income for education. Apparently, the voracious appetite of the educrat's can't be fed by lotto and prop taxes alone. I smell a state income tax coming.
I don't think it's going to do our economy or the the state treasury any good in the end.
It's also a transfer of wealth from the stupid and weak (those hooked on slots) to the corrupt (the gaming industry)
But now Broke, Stupid, and Weak, can vote for Rendell when he proposes his "Broke from Gambling Bailout Program" in 2 years.
I hate to give into evil, but if every Mafioso* with a drop of Indian blood in his veins is going to be given a tax-free casino, we aren't serving morality by banning non-Indian casinos.
(* Ever hear of the LAST OF THE MOHICANS? Who's running Mohican Sun? People with names like Joey "Running Bear" Spinelli.)
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