Kavulich urges quick action on gaming to protect local municipalities

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna, said today’s House Gaming Committee hearing concerning local share payments to casino-adjacent counties made it clear lawmakers should not get distracted by unrelated changes to the gaming law.

“We all know how things run in the House and how long it takes to get things done,” said Kavulich, a Gaming Committee member. “I would urge we solve the problem created with the Supreme Court ruling on how these gaming funds are generated – either by changing to a flat tax or using some other formula based on revenues.

“Only then should we come back and look into opening up the gaming bill for comprehensive reforms. County budgets are due very shortly and we can’t have counties like Lackawanna trying to craft their spending plans without knowing for certain how many casino dollars are coming.”

Kavulich likened the situation to school districts being forced to prepare spending plans without the state passing an annual budget.

The state Supreme Court recently ruled the current state law requiring casinos to pay 2 percent of slot machine revenues to local counties unconstitutional due to the law as written taxing different casinos in an uneven fashion and gave the state 120 days to fix the problem.

“Let’s get this done before the legislative session ends and then we can come back next year and address the concerns of our citizens and protect our job-creating, property-tax cutting gaming industry.”