Gambling in Lakewood gets a bye?

Bowling pin refinishing fees and permits for Haunted Houses in Lakewood are set to increase - not to mention property taxes - but gambling gets a bye?

Bowling pin refinishing fees and charges for Haunted Houses in Lakewood are slated to rise along with property taxes, gas utility taxes, and costs to use public parks per the Special Meeting of the City Council set for Monday, Nov.26, 7 P.M. at City Hall.

Interestingly not mentioned in the packet however is any reference to raising the tax on gambling revenue, currently set at a flat 11%. 

Unless it’s in the fine print somewhere, the proposal at the City Council’s Budget Workshop Nov.19, to raise taxes on the take at the city’s local casinos to 12.5% (page 9), didn’t make the cut. 

That’s odd since on October 1st of this year when the Council voted unanimously to enter an agreement with the Nisqually Indian Tribe for the latter to develop property within the City it was only after the tribe promised, among other conditions, that said property – or any future acquisitions by the Indians - would not become “a gambling establishment in the City as such is contrary to the City’s long term vision for South Tacoma Way.”

Since casinos by law can be taxed to 20%, and the City has indicated its vision for the future does not include gambling, then would this not be an appropriate opportunity for the City to make good on its stated intentions by raising the tax on gambling revenue?

It’s going to cost you more to spiff up those bowling pins after all (let alone live where you do, or picnic in the park for that matter) so you’d think the City could score a strike or two against the casinos by raising their rates – as opposed to throwing a gutter ball.

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David Anderson November 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM
TNT update: the gas tax will not go up after all although bowling pin refinishing fees will. Lakewood has a bowling alley? http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/11/24/2378389/lakewood-council-wont-increase.html Lakewood does have casinos. And why will the council raise your property taxes but not require the gambling industry to pay more in gambling income taxes? Connect the following dots. • Dot #1: The council says they "can’t count on increased revenue from minicasinos in Lakewood that pay the tax because they are in fierce competition with Indian casinos for business.” (TNT, November 24, 2012) • Dot #2: “The Lakewood Chamber supported dropping the tax rate on mini-casinos to 11 percent from previous sliding-scale of 11 to 20 percent, its directors saying the sliding tax was unfair and singled out one industry. In 2005, when the tax rate moved between 14.5 percent and 11 percent, the Great American Casino (GAC) in Lakewood paid $851,000 in city taxes according to Greg Bakamis, Regional Director and General Manager for the GAC. In 2006, at the 11 percent rate, the casino paid $676,000. On 3/12/07 Bakamis told the City Council "a sliding scale tax makes his business more hesitant to donate to charities and other community causes because it doesn’t know for sure how much discretionary income it will have.” (TNT, 3/14/07) • Dot #3: The Lakewood Chamber Board’s Vice-Chair of the 2007-2008 Executive Committee? Greg Bakamis.


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