Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Those are some nice new purse strings you've got there, Sirs

Good post from Isaiah Thompson at the Clog. Yesterday, it seems, Rep. Mike O'Brien introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 711 that would tax casinos an additional 1% on table game revenues. Each casino's revenues would go to its hosting county. The amendment passed the House. Tell us more, Isaiah:

Those are some nice new purse strings you've got there, Sirs

Good post from Isaiah Thompson at the Clog. Yesterday, it seems, Rep. Mike O'Brien introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 711 that would tax casinos an additional 1% on table game revenues. Each casino's revenues would go to its hosting county. The amendment passed the House. Tell us more, Isaiah:

But wait — there's more.

In all counties but one, that extra revenue will go to the county itself. This will not, however, take place in counties "of the first class." That designation, of course, applies to only one county: Philadelphia. Rather than Philly getting the cash directly, the money will be distributed to non-profit organizations "for the benefit of the immediate vicinity" of the casinos.

Who gets to pick which nonprofits get the money?

Interestingly, that will fall to a special seven-member advisory board, of which a majority of members will be picked by Rep. O'Brien, the sponsor of the bill, and State Senator Larry Farnese, whose district includes both casinos. City Council, the mayor's office, and the casino will each get to pick one representative, too.

To summarize, O'Brien and Farnese would have majority control over this new pot of money if the bill became law. I don't know yet if any rationale has been offered for why Philly has a different arrangement than other cities (here's the amendment itself). What do you think? Happy with this setup?

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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