Executive Director Mike Winter submitted a letter to the St.Louis Post Dispatch-
Casinos shouldn't be singled out for a tax increase
As good corporate citizens, casinos do more than their fair share for military veterans. Yet Missouri legislators now want to increase taxes on casinos to make up for a shortfall in funding veterans homes.
The proposed additional $1 per-patron admission fee would amount to a bottom-line hit of $53 million a year in new taxes for Missouri casinos, which already contribute nearly $500 million in gaming tax revenue a year. Such a hit could necessitate cuts in casino marketing and capital projects.
If passed, this tax legislation could impact jobs at the state's 12 casinos, which now employ more than 11,000 people.
The gaming industry has contributed more than $160 million in fee revenue to the Missouri Veterans Commission Capital Improvement Trust Fund since gaming began here in 1994.
Last year, the veterans fund received $6.6 million from the state's share of casino admission fees, a $2 per-visitor fee paid by casino companies. Individual casinos also support veterans and veterans organizations in other important and personal ways. Casinos sponsor events, volunteer time, donate cash and treat veterans to special meals on holidays.
No single industry in Missouri provides that kind of financial support to veterans programs. In fact, no other industry comes close to the level of overall tax revenue that Missouri casinos provide to the state.
Missouri should not single out one industry for increased taxes, particularly not an industry that already generates more tax money for the state than all of the other 60,000 Missouri corporations combined. Missouri casinos are taxed at 21 percent of adjusted gross revenue, and casino taxes make up Missouri's fifth-largest source of tax dollars.
We honor and support our military veterans and will continue to do so, and we ask legislators to find an equitable source of funding for veterans homes.
Mike Winter • Jefferson City
Executive Director, Missouri Gaming Association
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/letters-to-the-editor-february/article_56e2df6b-aeb4-55e3-8861-2db1d0d265cd.html#ixzz1m05zQBZX