Pennsylvania lawmakers eye extension to fix local casino tax

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The Pennsylvania Senate is preparing legislation to temporarily reinstate a mandate that casinos pay millions of dollars to host communities, after it was struck down by the state’s highest court.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the provision in a preliminary vote Tuesday night, 47-1.

The bill would mandate a different formula to create the same structure that yielded some $140 million in the last fiscal year, but only until May 1.

Senate officials say the next seven months will give lawmakers time to work on a permanent solution. The money has gone to local government budgets, institutions and projects in Philadelphia and 11 counties.

The court ruled last month that the previous local assessment was unconstitutional because it treated the state’s casinos unequally, and imposed a heavier burden on lower-performing casinos.

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