HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Lawmakers are scrambling to advance massive borrowing and casino gambling measures to help resolve Pennsylvania’s four-month budget stalemate.
A 470-page bill to expand casino-style gambling to truck stops, online portals, airports and 10 new mini-casino sites is scheduled to re-emerge on the House floor Thursday morning. It became public Wednesday evening and quickly won Senate approval, 31-19. House GOP majority leaders support it.
The bill would make Pennsylvania the first state to allow both casino and lottery games online. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf isn’t saying whether he supports it.
Senate leaders expect the plan would raise more than $200 million in license fees and higher gambling losses in a bid to help stitch together the state’s deficit-riddled finances.
It also would require casinos to pay a $10 million payment annually to their host communities, in an effort to reinstate a mandate struck down more than a year ago by the state Supreme Court.
The Senate on Wednesday also voted 29-21 to approve a House plan that includes borrowing $1.5 billion and a grab bag of tax increases that’s projected to yield as much as $140 million a year.
The House on Wednesday also approved $650 million in aid to the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Lincoln and Temple universities and the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school. It had been held up in the budget stalemate.
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