Thursday, May 26, 2011

Treasurer Wants Casinos to Repay Loans from State

Most of Pennsylvania's 10 operating casinos have been open for nearly 2 years. Last month the 10 casinos in Pennsylvania grossed $264.3 million from slots and table games.
However, the casinos have not yet begun repaying a combined $63.9 million in loans from the state...and they're not legally required to do so...yet.
Michael Smith, spokesman for Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, says the loans were made from the Property Tax Relief Reserve Fund between 2007 and 2010 to help get the industry up and running.
A June 30 deadline is looming, not to begin paying back the loans, but rather for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to adopt a repayment plan.
"The law does say the casinos are not obligated to begin repaying the loans until the 11th facility is up and running."
However, McCord believes that could be another year or two for the 11th casino to begin operations. That's because in December the Gaming Control Board revoked the license of the proposed Foxwoods Casino four years after awarding the license and without the facility ever getting started.

The law says the repayment plan has to be adopted by the end of next month...
"Treasurer McCord's proposal is the next day on July 1 we should amend the fiscal code and require the 10 operating casinos up and running today to start repaying those loans," says Smith.

McCord, as Treasurer, is a non-voting member of the Control Board and is the legal custodian of the Property Tax Relief Reserve Fund. McCord believes that a further delay in repaying the loans creates the risk that not enough funds may be available to trigger property tax relief funds next year.
Amending the fiscal code is up to the legislature.

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