State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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New gaming legislation won't come easy, committee chairs say

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 9, 2017 10:58 PM

Two of the major items on the legislature's docket are gaming-related. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- The newly-appointed chairs of gaming committees in the House and Senate are preparing themselves for a busy session.

Several top legislative priorities revolve around gaming, and could play a role in easing the state's financial deficiencies.

There are two major to-dos on the chairs' lists. One is coming up with $100 million in new gambling revenues to fill a hole in the 2016/17 budget.

House GOP gaming chair Scott Petri said because of time shortages, the money is--at least for this fiscal year--a lost cause.

"It's just not going to happen. I never thought it was going to happen when we approved the budget," he said. "I anticipate that we're going to have a shortfall.

To me, it's more important that we do this right."

House Democratic chair Patrick Harbin and Senate Republican chair Mario Scavello agree.

They're a little more optimistic when it comes to the other priority: fixing a casino tax law the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in September.

The old law allocated tax money to the districts that host casinos. But reps from non-host municipalities wanted a share too, which held up the legislation.

Scavello said he's open to anything at this point.

"I don't see a problem with expanding the new revenue in that way. It's something to look at," he said.

The committee members will have their first meeting when the legislature reconvenes January 23rd.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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