Sunday, May 29, 2005

Act 72

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?


Anonymous said...

Do you truly believe that we will ever see a cut in taxes, even if the slot machines do pay off?

Gort said...

The law does mandate it, even if it is 3 or 4 years down the line. I just don't think it is going to generate as much money as they think. I have been talking to people who go to Atlantic City on a regular basis. Not one has said they will go to Pocono Downs just for slots. AC has allot of other attractions such as shows and restaurants. Plus it doesn't cost anything to get there if you take a bus trip.

Anonymous said...

Slots may be a big mistake. People go to AC to get away for the day. The only thing you're going to attract here is Gamblers Anonymous and bankruptcy court.

We shall see what the big tax savings will be.