Riverboat casino communities in Harrison County, Indiana, held a collective sigh of relief when they got wind that Indiana Senate officials were not making plans to seize any of their millions in taxed gambling earnings. With rumors circulating once again that Republican lawmakers were seeking to redistribute gambling taxes to the state budget, Harrison County officials were on edge and ready to defend their rightful stake of casino revenue just as they did two years ago when Senate Republicans tried to pass a budget proposal siphoning $19 million per year from Harrison County.
Indiana Governor, Mitch Williams, criticized the budget proposal, while Harrison County lawmakers and the casino communities themselves gave forth a strong opposition that not only succeeded them, but is also having an impact to this day. Although Senate financial leaders, such as Tax Committee Chairman, Luke Kenley, have not denied any future attempts to reapportion gambling taxes, it is evident that any attempt to do so now would likely be put down once again. Kenley’s only remarks were that Harrison County should not get too comfortable with the gambling money.
Indiana’s Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Bob Meeks, said the first budget proposal was enough for him. Whether or not the issue will come up again, Harrison County Council President, Gary Davis, is keeping a guarded stance. What concerns him most is how casino communities are spending their money. He warns them to do so in a responsible and ethical matter, or else reapportionment is a likely prospect in the future. With over $235 million in casino gambling revenue per year, Harrison County casino communities must have stringent budget and spending guidelines of their own in place if they want to keep things going the way they are.