Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tax Break Enlarged By House To Include All Indiana Casinos

House Speaker Pat Bauer and his Democratic majority are determined to make sure that no vote will take place this year on a constitutional amendment to make permanent the property tax caps approved by the legislature last year. He and his members are, however, determined to provide a multi-million dollar tax break for the state's casino industry. Remember that amendment last week the House Ways & Means Committee adopted to provide tax breaks to the two horse race tracks' racinos and the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City? Well, the House yesterday approved an amendment to extend that tax break to all casinos. The Courier-Journal reports:

Originally, the bill would have provided cuts to only three casinos – the new racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville that are struggling to pay debt left by hefty state licensing fees, and Blue Chip Casino near Michigan City that is losing business to a Native American-operated gambling venue in Michigan.

But today, the House voted to expand the promotional tax break to the state’s original casinos and limited it to the next four years. As amended, the bill would allow casinos to deduct from their wagering income some of the free credits or game plays they give customers as promotions. Currently, those plays are counted as wagering revenue and taxed.

The deduction only applies to the amount of promotional credits that exceed the previous year’s total. So if a casino had $2 million in promotional credits this year and $5 million next year, it could deduct only $3 million from its 2010 taxable wagering income.The deduction also is capped at $5 million per casino per year.

Mike Smith, executive director of the Casino Association of Indiana, said the bill would encourage gambling boats to increase their marketing budgets, which could boost wagering and maybe taxes paid to the state.

“Being the most highly taxed business in the state, we appreciate the changes made to the bill,” Smith said. “In other jurisdictions this is a deductible expense from dollar one.”

The state is facing its worst economic downturn in decades and the legislature is more concerned about awarding tax breaks to casino owners than finding a way to fix Indiana's bankrupt unemployment insurance trust fund.

1 comment:

Patriot Paul said...

I understand Indiana already has more floating Casinos per capita than ANY other state. Combine that with our domestic land casinos and we simply cannot sustain any more without diluting the ones we have. Like many, I don't have the discretionary dollars to attend and I've never thought we should be encouraging gambling, much less subsidizing them and using them as a consistent revenue source. They were encouraged to set-up here because of the prospect of big bucks coming into the State, but now we're having to subsidize THEM! Further, it seems their promotions include a complementary money token to entice players to gamble, again with OUR breaks we're giving them. Unbelievable. Another giant upside-down cake.