(WBRE/WYOU-TV) When casino gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2004 a promise was made that homeowners would see a decrease in their property tax bills. Tax revenue generated from slot machines is supposed to go toward property tax relief. But one lawmaker says the savings haven’t been as high as promised. Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel has the story.
“One of the promises that was made was that gaming was going to relieve or potentially eliminate our local property taxes. And nothing could be further from the truth” Said Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill,
Which is why Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill has introduced Senate Bill 269 directing all new revenue generated from the expansion of gaming into the property tax relief fund.
Sen. Phillips-hill: “there is no bigger issue that I hear about from constituents than how big and how burdensome their property tax bills are.”
The state originally estimated a billion dollars in annual revenue from slot machines. But the senator says… That figure has never been realized.
“Slot machine revenue at the twelve operating casinos is more than holding its own against competition from surrounding jurisdictions,” Said Kevin O’Toole
Kevin O’Toole is with the gaming control board he says slot machine revenue in 2018 was its highest in five years. As for gaming expansion, he points to I-games. Specifically, Interactive slot machines which will be taxed at the same rate as regular slot machines.
“So, there is a component of expanded gambling that will directly benefit property tax relief” Added O’Toole.
In 2004, Lawmakers predicted slot machine revenue would result in homeowners seeing an average of about 300 dollars off of their property tax bill. Senator Philips-Hill says in her area The average is closer to 120 dollars.