In the southern American state of Virginia and legislation that would allow the residents of five disparate communities to vote on whether to introduce casinos has reportedly hit a snag concerning the ultimate destination of the envisioned venues’ resultant tax revenues.
According to a Sunday report from the Bristol Herald Courier newspaper, the Democratic-controlled Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia State Senate overwhelmingly passed measures last month that were to have permitted the electorates of Danville, Bristol, Norfolk, Richmond and Portsmouth to decide if their economically-challenged cities should each play host to a single privately-owned casino. It was purportedly widely expected that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (pictured) would subsequently sign the edicts into law and clear the way for these referendums to be held as part of the next presidential election on November 3.
However, instead of simply endorsing the casino-friendly measures, Northam has now reportedly inserted a policy amendment asking that the state’s portion of any new tax revenues from the planned casinos be earmarked specifically to help fund the construction and repair of schools. Carter Hutchinson, Deputy Policy Advisor for Northam, purportedly told the Bristol Herald Courier that the governor’s statewide request does not specify how this process should work but is to now be considered by legislators upon their return to Richmond next Wednesday.
Hutchinson reportedly told the newspaper…
“The governor is going to amend that provision of the bill that says roughly two-thirds of the [tax] revenue goes to the general fund. He is going to amend that language to designate the funding go to school construction, renovation and repairs. The language is going to be relatively broad given the revenue from the casinos won’t start coming in for at least a couple years, probably more.”
The newspaper reported that state lawmakers will not be allowed to alter the policy amendment from Northam and could eventually face the real prospect of having to return the legislation to the desk of the 60-year-old Democrat unchanged for him to either sign or veto.
The Bristol Herald Courier reported that an official 2019 investigation conducted by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission predicted that the five planned casinos could generate an aggregate profit of about $970 million within five years. It purportedly detailed that this would lead to an annual windfall for the state worth approximately $114 million in addition to around $65 million for the host communities.
Hutchinson reportedly told the Bristol Herald Courier…
“The governor intends to put this marker down and say, when this revenue comes in, it should go to school construction as determined by the Virginia General Assembly.”
Regarding the proposed casino for the city of Bristol and the newspaper reported that local businessmen Clyde Stacy and Jim McGlothlin are hoping to partner with operator Hard Rock International so as to realize the $400 million Hard Rock Casino Bristol. Hutchinson purportedly detailed that such a Virginia venue may generate up to $7.8 million every year for the community of 17,000 inhabitants while enriching the state’s coffers to the tune of some $15 million.