Plan would ease the tax burden by providing more revenue for municipalities
Tuesday, April 27, 2015
Rep. Wayne Parry (R) of Arundel will introduce a bill today to help provide income tax relief for Mainers through expanded gaming opportunities. LD 1280 An Act To Provide Income Tax Relief by Expanding Gaming Opportunities would establish a commission to begin soliciting bids for a new casino in either Cumberland or York County.
“The decision to have the White Sands group appear before the Veterans and legal Affairs Committee to present the findings of their feasibility study on expanding gaming in Maine was a huge step in the right direction,” Rep. Parry said. “A lot of the White Sands suggestions are in this bill, including the $5 million license fee and the $250 million minimum capital investment, which would be one of the largest in Maine history.”
The bill would require the commission to select the best-value bidder to be issued a casino operator license by the Department of Public Safety, Gambling Control Board for an initial license fee of $5,000,000. The winning bidder must construct a destination resort gaming facility with harness racing, slot machines and table games and a resort that includes a hotel, spa, pool, multiple dining options, entertainment venue, retail space and harness racing track.
The proposal would also require the approval of the voters in the municipality where the casino would be built before the project begins.
The bill would also require the casino owner to provide at least 3% of the net slot machine income the municipality and county where the casino is located.
The casino operator must distribute 46% of net slot machine income and 16% of net table game income to the Gambling Control Board for distribution by the board as follows:
1. Two and one-half percent to the General Fund for the administrative expenses of the Gambling Control Board and for the Gambling Addiction Prevention and Treatment Fund;
2. Twenty percent to supplement harness racing purses;
3. Five percent to the Sire Stakes Fund;
4. Eight and one-half percent to the Agricultural Fair Support Fund;
5. Three percent to the municipality in which the slot machines and table games are located;
6. Five percent to the county in which the slot machines and table games are located;
7. Two percent to the municipalities that abut the municipality in which the slot machines and table games are located;
8. Two and one-half percent to the Fund to Stabilize Off-track Betting Facilities;
9. One and one-half percent to the Coordinated Veterans Assistance Fund; and
10. Fifty percent to the Income Tax Relief Fund.
“As a taxpayer, my biggest worry is if we say ‘no’ to a Southern Maine Resort Casino and New Hampshire says ‘yes’ to one,” Rep. Parry said. “New Hampshire most likely will decide to build their casino in Portsmouth or Hampton. That would not only hurt Oxford, but all of Maine would lose a great deal of the tax revenue we receive now. Most of Oxford’s visitors from New Hampshire along with Oxford’s southern Maine visitors would most likely go to the closer New Hampshire resort.”
Rep. Parry’s proposal will had a public hearing Monday in front of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee.