Happy Thanksgiving from GGB; Newsletter Returns December 4

Jobs Fund Could Provide Delaware Bailout

Lawmakers could use money from a $26 million grant and loan fund for job creation to cover the $20 million in proposed fee and tax breaks for Delaware casinos.

State officials and lawmakers in Delaware, who recently passed a state budget absent any relief to the state’s three struggling racinos, may have found a source of funding to cover an estimated million a year in fee and tax breaks recommended in a recent state-sanctioned study.

State officials are looking at whether they can use money from a $26 million fund slated for grants and loans to businesses to stimulate job creation to cover the recommended elimination of certain annual fees and reduction of the table game revenue tax.

State Finance Secretary Tom Cook, who chaired the panel providing recommendations to ease the burden on casinos operating losses due to competition in neighboring states, said he is against the proposal. “I would not recommend doing that because we are once again trying to solve a problem with one-time money and that’s not good financial planning,” Cook told the Delmarva Daily Times.

State Senator Brian Bushweller, the sponsor of a bill to provide relief to the casinos, said he’s working with the administration of Governor Jack Markell to find a way to pay for the tax breaks. “There are a lot of good minds here in the General Assembly thinking about the issue of how do we pay for this,” he told the newspaper. “I’m just hopeful that with all of those good minds thinking about it, we’re going to come up with a solution.”

Delaware’s three racinos—Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway—have indicated layoffs and perhaps even closings are imminent if there is no relief to a tax burden that has caused consistent losses since casinos in Maryland opened.