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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 26, 2017 11:20 AM
From: Representative James R. Santora
To: All House members
Subject: PA Supreme Court ruling regarding local share payments made by casinos.
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to address the PA Supreme Court’s ruling regarding local share payments made by casinos.

The PA Supreme Court issued an opinion on September 28, 2016 declaring that the local share assessment on slot machine revenue is unconstitutional. Specifically, the court ruled that the 2% tax or 10 million, whichever is higher, that is given to host municipalities creates a variable tax rate on casinos. Under Article 8, Section 1 of the PA Constitution (Uniformity Clause), state taxes are required to be uniform across the state. Therefore, since the local share assessment leads to variable rates amongst the casinos, the local share assessment violates the PA Constitution’s Uniformity Clause. At this time, General Assembly has until May 26, 2017 to pass a legislative fix that ensures local share payments continue to local governments.

While I understand that a legislative fix will be included in an omnibus gaming bill in the coming months, I am concerned that including a local share fix in an omnibus gaming expansion bill may delay and jeopardize funding for local governments. For this reason, I am introducing a bill that will address the court’s ruling by simply requiring all Category 1 and Category 2 casinos to pay a local share payment of 2% to the host county and a $10 million fee to the host municipality. Category 3 casinos will continue to pay a 2% local share payment to the host county and a 2% local share payment to the host municipality. This legislation does not alter how the money is required to be used under current law.

I hope you will consider cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB1342