Seeing the Foxwoods casino finally lose its license yesterday was like watching a baseball umpire finally give an annoying manager the heave-ho.
It was richly deserved.
But there could be an unhappy consequence here, in the form of a tax hike for everybody who lives or works in Philadelphia.
Many people aren’t aware of it, but we’ve gotten a tasty little reduction in the city wage tax, courtesy of state gambling revenues.
The legislature authorized casinos in Pennsylvania with the proviso that they would be heavily taxed, and most of the revenue would go for tax reduction – in property taxes elsewhere, and the wage tax in Philly.
For years now, gambling taxes in other parts of Pennsylvania have effectively subsidized the Philadelphia wage tax cut, because their casinos were open, while the two projects here were stalled and producing nothing for the kitty.
I think one reason the wage tax cuts weren’t ballyhooed in Philadelphia is because both Gov. Rendell and local officials didn’t want to alert citizens and politicians around the state to what was going on.
The Sugarhouse casino here is finally operating, but the proposed South Philadelphia gaming house is nowhere on the horizon. Some say the idea of a second casino here should be scrapped.
At some point you have to wonder if Republicans, who consolidated their hold on Harrisburg in November, will decide to exact revenge on Philly by yanking some or all of its gambling revenues away.
It will be a nasty state budget season this year, and the new governor will be looking for every scrap of revenue he can find.