An amendment authored by state Rep. Frank Burns that would allocate more gaming revenue for property tax relief unanimously passed the state House.
Burns, D-East Taylor Township, said he has put the amendment on every gaming bill that has been introduced in an effort to have it passed. Under current law these revenues are deposited in the state's general fund until the balance of the rainy day fund exceeds $750 million.
Burns explained that it could be possible to keep the table game revenues indefinitely by keeping the fund's balance low.
"The $750 million could possibly never be reached," he said.
Burns said his amendment brings the state back to the primary objective of the gaming act, which is property tax relief.
"The promises were made that once we have gaming, property tax relief is going to be on its way," he said. "Then it was only on the way after we reach $750 million, which could possibly never happen."
Burns said he hopes the Senate will take swift action on the bill.
The amendment was attached to a bill that deals with gaming board reform. He came up with the amendment last year. It was the first amendment he has had passed in the House this year. He said it is difficult to get items passed because he is in the minority party.
"Only a handful of Democratic bills and Democratic amendments passed through the House," he said.
Burns estimates that an additional $100 million a year would be put into the property tax relief fund by redirecting the gaming revenues.
"We made promises to the people of Pennsylvania and we need to carry out those promises," he said. "Those promises were made long before I was in office."
State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Allegheny Township, said he is in favor of property tax relief.
"That will now direct the gambling revenue where it always should have gone and where it was promised to go by the (Gov. Ed) Rendell administration," he said. "Unfortunately even with all the money from gambling it still wouldn't be enough to eliminate property taxes."
Metzgar is co-sponsoring House Bill 475, which would eliminate property taxes. Metzgar said sponsors are preparing to introduce it into committee.