Pennsylvania Lottery Fund Idea Criticized - Thursday 27th of April 2006

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "A top House leader has doubts about a key element of a property tax relief plan, threatening to complicate a legislative panel's efforts to produce an acceptable compromise.

"House Republican leader Sam Smith, of Punxsutawney, said yesterday he didn't like the idea of transferring about $240 million from the state lottery fund to provide property tax and rent rebates this year for senior citizens.

"…A six-member, House-Senate tax panel met briefly yesterday without reaching a solution. It plans to meet today with leaders of both chambers, along with Gov. Ed Rendell, in an effort to find a compromise on property tax relief that will pass both the House and Senate.

"…The panel is trying to increase, from the current $15,000 to either $25,000 or $30,000, the annual income limits for seniors to qualify for property tax and rent rebates. The maximum rebate is now $500 a year, which the panel would like to increase to $650.

"But doing so will cost about $200 million, [House Democratic Whip Mike Veon] said. He favors transferring that amount from the Lottery Fund for two years and then repaying the lottery account by using the projected $1 billion in slots revenue…"

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