The idea of using slot machine proceeds to fund education is full of holes. They are giving school districts a new taxing authority with promise that the gambling revenue may reduce property taxes a few years from now.
From the Times-Leader:
Northwest Area finance committee Chairman Randy Tomasacci said he has concerns whether the program could generate the expected $1 billion in tax relief, but he voted yes anyway because he thinks there will be at least some form of property tax relief.
However, the district will have to raise the earned income tax by 0.1 percent to opt in to the program once the gambling money is made available.
The law also provides for a voter referendum to raise taxes in the future But:
The law limits how much a school district can raise taxes without voter approval, but there are multiple exceptions that could allow a school district to avoid a referendum. The amount of debt comes into play in the complicated formulas.
And I love this quote:
Wilkes-Barre Area Board member Charles Luce said he agreed with Corcoran, and pointed out the law is "of no benefit to education" because it provides no extra money. He said it would have been better if the state used the money to pay for numerous "unfunded mandates"that are draining school budgets and pushing property taxes up. Still, he said, he voted for it to give tax relief to area residents.
If you don't think it's a good law, why vote for it?
37 minutes ago