Here on the eve of the G20 Summit, its certainly busy times for fire departments in western PA as plans are being put in place. However, I would like to bring the following state budget news to everyone’s attention, in case you missed the news at first like I did myself.
The state has announced they may have a budget agreement after the latest changes. One of those changes is to levy a 20% tax on small games of chance income. Guess what that means fellow volunteers? For every $10 you make at bingos, cash bashes, lottery ticket sales, etc the state is going to take $2 from you. How is that for “supporting” you local fire department?
There is no mention of the state grant program for fire and ambulance services, but it sounds like that will stay in place. I’m guessing they didn’t want to touch that because the public would hear “cutting funds to fire/ems” and there would be an outcry. If they tax small games of chance, the general public may not realize who that is really impacting.
Per the Tribune-Review
A new 20 percent tax would be levied on the profits of small games of chance, which include punch boards, pull tabs and raffle tickets. The tax will be paid by the licensee, said Andrew Crompton, a lawyer for Scarnati. It will not include bingo.
The tax is applicable to nonprofits with liquor licenses. It does not extend to church raffles, he said.
Prize limits will likely increase from the current $5,000 per week to $20,000 per week per club, Crompton said.
Looks to me just another step in getting volunteer fire departments to close their doors. I agree, in some counties there are too many departments, and some consolidation is needed. However, at the rate they are changing things, its almost like certain government leaders have agenda’s to close them quickly.
I recommend discussing this new proposal of the budget with your state representative. Let them know us volunteers only have so much time in a day, and that working 20% more for fundraising is not something that the state should be making us do. Do the state leaders really think we make that much from Night at the Races and lottery tickets?
They are back in session on Wednesday to discuss the details of this new proposal, so there is still time to make your feelings known. Pennsylvania is still the only state without a current budget.