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Where Is Pa. Gaming Revenue Really Going?

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s a promise dating back to 2004.

Gov. Ed Rendell promised that revenue from gaming would significantly reduce in your school property tax bill.

Seven years later, people like Mary Lou Murray in Whitehall claim they are still waiting.

“I don’t know whose taxes it’s reducing, but I don’t see it reducing ours. I really don’t,” Murray said.

It is there, but you just may not see or call it significant.

The gaming tax revenue collected by the state is reducing the average homeowner’s school taxes by $198 a year.

The gaming tax revenues are distributed according to needs.

For instance, in a struggling district like Aliquippa, the annual reduction is $316, while homeowners in the North Hills School District are seeing a $123 reduction.

In the Baldwin and Whitehall School District, property taxpayers aren’t getting much help in paying for their new high school. They are only receiving $143 a year.

Rendell and members of his administration have moved on, but the Gaming Commission notes that senior citizens are getting additional rent and property tax reductions.

They also said gaming revenues are funding economic development and the horse racing industry, but not everyone is buying it.

Bruce Barron of the anti-gambling group “No Dice” said the casinos are draining Pennsylvanians of $2.4 billion a year and putting back less than $1 billion.

“All they can promise us is tax relief and jobs. The jobs aren’t much, the tax relief isn’t much, but they promise it anyway to sell it on us, so they can get more money out of us,” Barron said.

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2011-2012 Estimated State Property Tax Relief per Homestead

Property Tax Reduction Allocations 2011-2012 Fiscal Year