Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A measure barring Philadelphia from sharing gaming revenue until its casinos are up and running has cleared a Senate committee. Even if it gets out of the Senate it may stumble when it get to the governor’s mansion. Last month, Governor Ed Rendell said he'd consider signing legislation keeping Philadelphia from the funds. He says he was frustrated by the multiple delays faced by SugarHouse Casino and Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia but he no longer supports the bill. Rendell's spokesman, Chuck Ardo, says dynamics have changed. He says, “While we understand the continuing frustration expressed by the legislators, we believe there's been progress made in Philadelphia, and that the legislation is unnecessary at this point.” The bill sponsored by Sen. Jane Earll of Erie, passed through the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee by a 10-4 vote. She says her measure is a safeguard, “If progress continues to be made then maybe these bills will never have to come to fruition. But in the meantime, I think the rest of the commonwealth deserves a safety net if, in fact, these casinos never get up and operating. Philadelphia should not receive the benefit of a deal they're not honoring.” Both casinos now have the support of Mayor Michael Nutter, though grassroots opposition continues.