Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Can Legislators Defend A Tax Break For Casinos?

If you wondered how the legislature could possibly support a bailout of our CIB to support billionaire sports team owners, you need only take a look at the action of the House Ways & Means Committee last night when on a 17-7 vote the committee voted to give a huge tax break to the Blue Chip casino and the state's two horse race tracks. Under the plan put forward by Rep. Scott Pelath (D), the graduated tax on horse race tracks/casinos, otherwise known as racinos, will be reduced by 5%, costing the state $17.7 million a year in lost revenues. Blue Chip Casino is being allowed a $15 million deduction from its adjusted gross revenues for promotional discounts to patrons, such as free coin. Both tax breaks would be phased out over a five-year period, dropping to $12 million, then $9 million, $6 million and $3 million. This is the same legislative body that failed on the same day to reach an agreement on a bailout of Indiana's UI Trust Fund from which benefits to unemployed Hoosiers are paid. Will the public rise up and say enough is enough? Will the legislature pass on new taxes to Marion County taxpayers to subsidize the billionaire sport team owners at the same time it is handing out millions in tax breaks to casino and horse track owners?

Read the full story here.

6 comments:

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Yes, Gary. The public shall rise up.

Patriot Paul said...

It amazes me that Legislators can simply offer and devise a method of permitting floundering Casinos to keep more money. Wasn't the purpose of those taxes pegged for education via property tax? And does that mean a prorata share back to all of us embedded in our assessment bill? And doesn't that mean that we're subsiding casinos?

Patrick said...

Where can I access the 17-7 vote to determine who the seventeen YAY votes were?

Downtown Indy said...

Stupid decisions seem to come easy as pie to our legislators.

News reports have indicated casino revenue is way down (not surprising). My question is whether this is temporary or permanent. Could be the novelty is wearing off, as much or more than the effect of the economy tanking.

Citizen Kane said...

Casinos are nothing more than a form of recreation; they produce nothing. So, to reduce one of the few positives - tax revenue - is ludicrous.

But, wait, maybe it is no more ludicrous than touting the supposed economic benefit of the Super Bowl while waiving taxes for the NFL.

Mike W said...

The casino business has gone from feast to famine in just the past 18months or so. What no one knows is whether it's temporary or more permanent. The State of Indiana can no longer rely on the casino industry to fund growth of its budget. In fact, I predict that the casino business problem is more permanent in nature. We overbuilt and over-relied on debt with housing and see where we are. The same is true with casinos and gaming---overbuilt and subject to financial problems due to over-reliance on debt.