HARRISBURG – July 20 – As a result of the state’s massive revenue surplus, which state Sen. Lisa Boscola says provides more than enough cushion for general state expenses, the lawmaker has authored a measure that directs the $71 million in table game tax revenues generated this year, and all future revenues, back into property tax relief.

“The revenue surplus last year was $785 million,” said Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/ Monroe).  “With this kind of excess cash, there is no reason why the state’s General Fund needs the more help from table games.  These revenues should be used for additional tax relief.”    

Boscola’s Senate Bill 160 would suspend the deposit of gaming table revenues in the state’s General Fund and send the tax revenues to the Property Tax Relief Fund.  

In the throes of last year’s budget crisis, lawmakers earmarked table game revenue for general expenditures.  Under the plan, 14 percent of gross revenues from table games is directed to the General Fund until the state’s reserve – Rainy Day Fund – exceeds $750 million.  Once this threshold is reached, table game revenues will then go toward property tax relief.  

“When the plan was hatched to send table games revenue to the General Fund, we were in the midst of a serious revenue shortage and needed funds for the daily operation of state government,” Boscola said.  “Now, we are awash in revenues and have little need for gaming funds to augment general tax revenues. 

“There is no difference between stashing cash away in a fund or carrying it forward on a balance sheet – either way homeowners are not getting tax relief from table game revenue,” Boscola said.    

The lion’s share of state tax revenues from gaming is already deposited in the property tax fund for distribution to homeowners to reduce property taxes and for senior citizen tax and rent rebates.  Last year, proceeds from these revenues resulted in more than $612 million in general property tax relief and another $164 million for property tax and rent rebates.  

“The one thread which tied the establishment of the gaming together was the idea that tax revenues would be used for property tax relief, and not spread around for general state spending,” Boscola said.  “As a result of the swollen revenues, we should redirect the table game funds and give property taxpayers even greater relief.” 

Boscola said that she would be contacting her colleagues to gauge support for moving her legislation when the Senate returns to session in September.