The state senate says the gaming industry has been misleading the public for more than a decade about its contributions to public education. Senators say they want the industry to correct a misperception the industry has fostered.
Senator Tim Green of Spanish Lake is tired of being asked why schools need more money because people think gambling taxes are financing education. Green says the gaming industry continues to mislead the public with billboards promoting the millions of dollars in gambling taxes going to schools. Green and others say the industry does not tell the public how little those millions really amount to in the state education budget. Actually, he says gambling taxes only amount to about ten percent of the state’s education spending.
The senate has adopted Green’s amendment saying those billboards also have to prominently say THAT.
St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields says the partial truth on the billboard hurts local funding efforts: He thinks billboards praising the industry for contributing tens of millions of dollars to education just make it harder for local school districts to pass bonds or new tax levies.
The effort could amount to nothing, though, because it is part of a Shields’ bill eliminating casino loss limits. That bill is in trouble in the senate. Shields has set the bill aside after an intense filibuster developed during the first debate.
(The bill is SB430).