January 7, 2010 at 00:32 Leave a comment

I am officially frightened.

Why, you ask?

It’s a fairly well known fact that I am a liberal. Registered Democrat. Activist. Hacker. I don’t think I could be more leftist if I tried.

It is also a known fact that I reside in Pennsylvania. One of the only “Commonwealth” states left in the Union. Archaic laws prevented Sunday sales of alcohol in this state until the middle of the last decade. (Yes, the mid 2000’s.) So oddly, for a majority Democratic state, it stays very conservative.

Within the last few years, we (the Commonwealth) allowed gaming in our state. Slots only. No table games. I’m absolutely fine with that. It means if I want to pull the one-armed bandit I only have to drive an hour now instead of 3-5 hours to go to New Jersey.

The PA Senate passed a table games bill after a nearly year long debate the other day. The PA House of Representatives passed the table games bill today. Governor Ed Rendell is expected to sign a conglomeration of the Senate and House bills tomorrow morning.

Now here’s the rub: As a democrat and leftist, I should be all for this bill getting signed into law. I totally would be, too, if it wasn’t for this one little thing. I’ll paste the text I find a problem here:

§ 1362A. Table game taxes.
(a) Imposition.–
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), each
certificate holder shall report to the department and pay
from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in the
manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 12% of its
daily gross table game revenue.
(2) In addition to the tax payable under paragraph (1),
each certificate holder shall report to the department and
pay from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in
the manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 34% of its
– 130 –
daily gross table game revenue from each table game played on
a fully automated electronic gaming table.
(3) The tax reported and payable under paragraph (1) by
each certificate holder shall be 14% of daily gross table
game revenue for a period of two years following commencement
of table games operations at its licensed facility.

–PA Senate Bill 711-2009 Printers Number 1586, Pages 129-130.

Now, the issue may not be evident just from reading that headache of legalese, so allow me, with my former experience as an incarcerated prison law librarian, to translate for you. (OMG, he was in PRISON?!? LOL.)

Our fine Commonwealth will tax each casino 14% of their total table game revenue for the first 2 years after the casino has commenced table games operations. After that 2 year period, those casinos would be taxed 12% of their table games revenue in perpetuity.

Again, most people would say “AWESOME! Millions of dollars for the state to hand out and to use and PA WILL NEVER BE BROKE AGAIN LIKE WE WERE THIS PAST SUMMER!”, but then most people don’t take the time out to look at what other states tax their casinos for table games. According to research done by a Republican PA Representative and his staff, most other states tax table games at anywhere between 23 and 60 (Yes, SIXTY!) percent.

In this vein, it is fairly obvious to me that my own party mates in the Commonwealth have betrayed me and all of their other constituents only in order to hurriedly pass a table games bill before Governor Rendell takes action he described as “laying off more state workers”. I also feel that in this respect, Governor Rendell (D-Philadelphia) has also betrayed me, as well as all 12+ million residents of Pennsylvania by holding the state legislature hostage in order to pass this bill.

IN CONCLUSION…I feel that the Republicans arguing not the bill itself but arguing that the tax totals are WAY too low are absolutely…*sigh*…correct in doing so. Any real democrat would have noticed that the amounts were too low to make any sense except to maybe hurry and put revenue in the coffers to pay people with. Even then, if the tax amount were higher than 12-14%, I am sure that the Republicans would have complained much less about it. We’re ripping ourselves off at this rate and it’s all the *sigh part two* DEMOCRATS FAULT!

Epilogue: While you are sitting at your favorite casino in Pennsylvania in the near future playing blackjack, remember this, Governor Rendell could have sent the bill back and made the legislature up the amount, but he won’t. He’ll sign it tomorrow morning and only $6-7 of that $50 bet you just lost will go to fix that potholed interstate you came there on. It could have been $10, it could have been $30. If you’re going to lose, better to lose and fix your community with the money.


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Operation Chokehold…success? I say YES! More to come…

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