Rep Schlossberg issues statement on the passage of gaming expansion legislation

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg issued this statement on the passage of the gaming expansion bill by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as part of the 2017-18 state budget.

"This will be a strange statement, as I dedicate most of it to explaining how much I dislike the bill I just voted on.

“Indeed, I can think of countless aspects on House Bill 271 that I dislike including the expansion of Video Gaming Terminals, iGaming, and the Category 4 licensure expansion for ‘mini casinos.’ Indeed, I do not favor just about every aspect of this bill.

“That being said, I still voted yes on this bill and here’s why: Last year's Supreme Court decision had the potential to nullify a host fee that the city of Allentown receives, which amounts to approximately $5 million in annual funding. This is a major dilemma for the city’s budget. Without this legislation, property taxes would need to be increased by about 2.5 mills, or 40 police officers and firefighter positions would need to be cut. 

“I represent the people of Allentown and South Whitehall. A ‘no’ vote would have stuck my constituents with a major property tax increase or put their public safety at risk. 

“As a member of the legislature, you don't get to vote ‘yes’ on some parts of a bill and ‘no’ on others. I can only vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the particular legislation in front of me. The impact that this legislation could have on constituents’ finances and public safety and because of the people of Allentown overrode all of my other concerns, and that is why I voted yes,” Schlossberg said.

The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives and state Senate, awaits consideration by the governor.