Legislature Weighs Higher Tax on Casinos
The Michigan Senate, exploring ways to raise money for the struggling
state budget, might consider a bill that would double a state tax on
Detroit’s three casinos.
The bill approved by the House on Wednesday would raise a
wager-related tax from 18 percent to 36 percent. House Republicans said
the change would generate an additional $90 million to support the city
of Detroit, the state’s school aid fund and the state’s general fund.
The state Senate could consider the bill as part of a solution to
Michigan’s budget problems, said Bill Nowling, spokesman for Republican
Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema of Wyoming.
Nowling said the bill won’t be referred to a committee but could be
taken up at any time by the full Senate.
"Sen. Sikkema thinks this is a serious proposal that warrants further
consideration," Nowling said Thursday. "It’s a revenue option, and we’re
looking at all revenue options given Michigan’s current budgetary
The state budget is facing a potential $1.3 billion shortfall in the
upcoming fiscal year.
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has proposed tax increases on
cigarettes and liquor to help balance the budget, but neither of those
measures has yet won support in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Opponents of the bill have argued that it’s aimed at silencing the
Detroit casinos’ opposition to legislation that would allow Michigan’s
seven race tracks to have slot machines and other gaming devices.