PA Bill Would Funnel Sports-Betting Money to Homeowners
Only two weeks after the first legal sports bets were placed in Pennsylvania, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would channel all tax revenues from sports betting into the state Property Tax Relief Fund for the state’s homeowners.
The bill, introduced by Bucks County Democratic Rep. Tina Davis, would replace the current law—the 2017 gaming expansion package, which channels sports betting revenue to the state General Fund.
It promises to be a hefty amount, with estimates of more than $100 million in annual tax revenue from sports betting, thanks to the 34 percent revenue tax, by far the highest in the nation. The additional 2 percent of sports betting revenues pegged for General Fund grants to local municipal projects would be unaffected under Davis’ bill. The $10 million license fees paid for sports betting also would still go to the General Fund.
The Property Tax Relief Fund was created in 2006, the year Pennsylvania opened its first casino. A portion of gaming revenues goes to this fund via the General Fund. Gaming taxes are expected to reduce property taxes for 2018 by $200 for every household in the state.
Davis’ bill would cut the General Fund out of the equation, meaning homeowners would benefit regardless of general state budget deficits.
“Pennsylvania homeowners continue to face rising property taxes,” Davis said in a memo to the PennBets.com news site. “Seniors on fixed incomes are especially challenged by this issue, particularly those who struggle to pay for food and medications and still be able to afford to keep their homes. Given this difficult and challenging situation, it is incumbent upon us as concerned public officials to do everything we can to help provide much-needed property tax relief to our citizens.”