Here’s yer table games update
January 4, 2010 2 Comments
When lawmakers return to Harrisburg tomorrow, table games will be topic number one.
(That’s a sentence you’ve read a lot since October, huh?)
The driving force behind this week’s action will be a compromise hammered out by legislative leaders in late December. According to numerous reports, the deal would create a new category three “resort casino” license in 2017, as well as reopen bidding on the outstanding license that already exists. PLS/PoliticsPA’s Alex Roarty reports, “the license fee for category one and two casinos would remain $16.5 million, and category three licenses would stay $7.5 million. The bill sets a state tax rate of 14 percent this year that drops to 12 percent in 2011. It also mandates a two percent local-share levy for counties and municipalities.”
Speaking to reporters in the hallway, House Majority Leader Todd Eachus confirmed a deal, and said he’s hoping for a final vote on “Wednesday or Thursday.” He says House members will be briefed on the agreement tomorrow. He’ll push for a non-concurrence vote on the Senate’s table games bill as soon as the session gets underway, and will then work to set up a joint House-Senate conference committee to implement the agreement’s details.
Meantime, the Rendell Administration is laying groundwork for the mass state worker layoffs the governor says will be needed if the bill doesn’t pass by week’s end. Secretary of Administration Naomi Wyatt has sent a memo to cabinet secretaries spelling out how many people each department should let go. 333 Department of Public Welfare employees would be furloughed, according to her guidelines. Corrections and the State Police would also be hit hard, with 299 and 112 respective furloughs. Four more people would be severed from the already hard-hit Historical and Museum Commission. In all, Wyatt is calling for 995 layoffs – just under the thousand promised by Rendell.