For the second year in a row, state legislators have proposed using revenue from casino gaming to solve a School District of Philadelphia funding crisis.
State Rep. Michael H. O’Brien (D., Philadelphia) said his bill would redirect $86.4 million in tax revenue from gaming to the schools without costing the state any money. This “revenue neutral” approach, he said, was the only way to find more money for the schools, given the “atmosphere” in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Last year, state Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D., Philadelphia) led the charge to redirect casino revenue, which goes to every county except Philadelphia for property tax reductions. In Philadelphia, the money is applied toward wage tax cuts.
Last year, the Nutter administration opposed the move because doing so would have opened a hole in the city’s budget that would have to be filled with wage tax increases or service cuts. The mayor also has been pushing for more wage tax cuts, seeking a commitment from Council to slash the tax in each of the next five years.