Last Saturday I was at the American Legion 10th District Mid-Winter convention, of which my home Post 172 Osseo/Maple Grove is a member. There were 125 or so of us; Legion, Auxiliary, Legion Riders and SAL members. In attendance were people of all ages, but we were predominantly older in age. Most of us had served our country years ago. There were veterans from every conflict since Korea.
The common denominator among those in attendance was their desire to continue to serve. They don’t do it for the recognition or any profit motive. They do it for their fellow human being. They do it to make their community a better place to live.
I was asked by our District Commander Paul Orson to say a few words about charitable gaming and what ACM’s goals were for the upcoming session. I talked about the taxes and fees that we pay and how we are now paying more to the state than we have for our veterans and communities.
The attendees had a look on their faces that was easily recognizable to me. I always struggle to put into words the look on people’s faces when you tell them that the government that they have sworn to uphold is treating them like anything but an ally.
We are on pace to send the state $90 million in taxes/fees this fiscal year. The 2012 stadium bill was designed for us to pay $36.9 million into the general fund and to make the $31 million dollar annual bond payment. It was not designed for us to pay off the bonds early, pay for improvements or pay for future building projects. We will be sending in $22 million more than is needed to cover those two amounts this fiscal year. Either having our donations exempt from the gambling tax or lowering the combined receipt rates to 6/12/18/24% would be a remedy for us.
In short order we will have bill numbers for our tax relief bills. When you get those numbers you need to contact your legislators and tell them that relief needs to be delivered this session and that you want them to support these bills. On the ACM website under Legislation you will find who the state senators and state representatives are for the 2019/2020 legislative years as well as what members are on the Tax and Gambling Policy committees that we need to work through on our issues. You will also find a link to who represents you.
Those of you that were in Bemidji may remember Mark Irving from Canterbury Park. Mark tells me that Canterbury is holding an open house on Thursday, January 31 from 3 to 7 pm and that all gaming charity members are welcome. Hope to see you there. https://www.canterburyparkevents.com/events/open-house/ to RSVP.