Thursday, October 26, 2017

House Sends Gaming Expansion Bill To Governor Completing Budget Package

The House Thursday voted 109 to 72 to send the gaming expansion bill-- House Bill 271 (Ortitay-R-Allegheny)-- to the Governor, the final piece of the budget package to deal with the state’s $2.2 billion budget deficit.
The bill authorizes up to10 mini-casinos (with community opt-out), video gaming terminals at trucks stops (with community opt-out), iGaming, tablet gaming at airports, fantasy games and sports wagering.
The bill also includes local share tax distribution changes, converts the Race Horse Development Fund into a trust fund and specifies assessments received are not Commonwealth funds and requires repayment of funds diverted to the General Fund since 2009.
Click Here for a House Fiscal Note and summary.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) and House Majority Leader David Reed (R-Indiana) both expressed the hope their work on the revenue package will not only fill the budget hole this year, but for next fiscal year as well.
Key Elements Of Revenue Package
Here are the key ingredients in the revenue package--
-- $1.5 billion borrowed by securitizing or “liquidating” the Tobacco Settlement monies Pennsylvania receives;
-- $300 million in special fund transfers to the General Fund to be picked by the Governor;
-- $200 million transfer to General Fund from the Professional Liability Joint Underwriting Association Fund;
-- $238.5 million from gaming expansion application and license fees, $25 million from iGaming, $10 million for Lottery Fund-- recurring revenue of an estimated $80 to $90 million;
-- $43.5 million from expanding Sales Tax to online marketplaces;
-- $31.7 million from a 12 percent tax on expanding the kinds of fireworks purchased in the state; and
-- Hope that state revenues continue to run above estimates.
Status Of Other Budget-Related Bills
--Tax Code bill-- House Bill 542 (Thomas-D- Philadelphia)-- on the Governor’s desk, does NOT have the harmful environmental riders.  Click Here for House Fiscal Note and summary.
-- Fiscal Code bill-- House Bill 674 (sponsor withdrew) WITH $300 million in fund transfers, environmental riders is on the Governor’s desk.  Click Here for House Fiscal Note and summary.
-- Administrative Code bill-- House Bill 118 (Kaufer-R-Luzerne)-- is on the Governor’s desk WITH environmental riders.  Click Here for Senate Fiscal Note and summary.
-- State-Related Universities-- Senate Bill 325 (University of Pennsylvania), Senate Bill 326 (Penn State), Senate Bill 327 (Pitt), Senate Bill 328 (Temple), Senate Bill 329 (Lincoln University)-- on the Governor’s desk
-- Severance Tax-- NOT part of the FY 2017-18 budget package, the natural gas production severance tax bill-- House Bill 1401 (DiGirolamo-R- Bucks)-- was removed from the Table and is now on the House Calendar for action.

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