ERIE, Pa. -- In October, the state Supreme Court declared that local share of gaming revenue was unconstitutional. That ruling will cost Erie County $13 million a year if it is not changed.
But time is running out, as there are 22 days left to make changes to the law.
"Everyone is confident that this is a top priority right now to fix this,” executive director of the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority Perry Wood said. “The question is how will it be fixed and how soon, because right now, as it stands, it is going to expire in about three weeks."
If Harrisburg leaders do not find common ground by then, the window to make changes to the law goes away, along with millions in funding. ECGRA only has one year's worth of gaming revenue left if this expires.
"The funding will dry out and cease to exist,” Wood said. “So folks want to see these things that are creating jobs and creating a better quality of life for the region it needs to be top of mind to be advocating with the leaders in Harrisburg.”
But ECGRA is not giving up, commissioning an economic impact study to prove how much these funds benefit Erie County. They will hand deliver it to Harrisburg leaders if necessary.
"As a result, hundreds of letters, hundreds, have been sent to leaders in Harrisburg in both the Senate and House, telling them this is really important to our economy,” Wood said.
There are several bills involving this issue currently being negotiated in the Senate. Some representatives are looking to see if they can get an extension.
"The gaming funds are crucial for Erie County,” County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said. “There are so many good things that have been done in this community because of the gaming funds that have come here. And even in the county budget, $5.5 million of our budget is actually from gaming funds.”
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