New Hampshire Senate Pases Casino Bill
The New Hampshire Senate beat a looming deadline and approved a bill permitting up to four casino licenses and as many as 10,000 slot machines for the state. Work on the state budget had to be finished by midnight last night, just hours after the gambling revenue plan passed.
Authorities have said New Hampshire faces a $300 million budget shortfall by the end of the bi-annual fiscal period in June 2011. The Senate rejected a House counter-proposal which would cut $181 million from the deficit, instead opting for its expanded gaming plan which is estimated to save $283 million.
The House has rejected previous attempts to expand gambling, and prospects for the latest bill are uncertain once it is considered by the House. The Senate bill says $80 million in taxes could be raised from slot machine gambling in 2011.
“This presents a balanced budget, one that reduces taxes, restores essential services and prevents downshifts to municipalities and providers,” said state Senator Kathleen Sgambati of the Senate bill.
The bill passed by a 14-10 vote.
The House bill including provisions for raising taxes, while the Senate gambling measure did not require higher taxes on residents.
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