It is with total disappointment that I regret to inform you that there will be no tax relief for licensed gaming charities again this year.
The grip on the neck of the golden goose has tightened once again. I keep telling the state that the golden goose needs to be fed and nurtured or at some point it will expire. They have yet to believe that.
I want to thank Senator Roger Chamberlain, Senate Tax chair, for doing everything that he could for us. He stood by us to the end.
This year we have sent in close to $100 million dollars, this time next year it will be between $110 and $115 million. The relief that Senator Chamberlain wanted to give us would have been covered by our increased business, there would have been no revenue loss at all to the state. Our relief would have accounted for .003% of the overall budget.
Since 2012 the state has consistently chosen to reward greed over helping charities keep more of the money that they raise locally to help local needs. This year we will have sent in $30 million more than is needed to fulfill the commitment that the state levied on us that fateful session seven years ago. Next year it will be between $40 and $50 million more than is needed.
I wish that I knew what to say to a government that treats us so callously that would cause them to reconsider the path that we are currently traveling on. The more that we do for them, the more that they require of us. It would seem that if the goal is to end charitable gaming in the state, a better crafted plan would be hard to conceive.
I am regularly asked if the state is out to take over charitable gaming. I have never wanted to believe that the government that I have taken an oath to support and uphold would do such a thing to charities whose only purpose is to serve the less fortunate. Three events in the past four months have caused me to reconsider that belief:
Charities have written me telling me that they did what we asked of them, to write their elected officials talking about the confiscatory tax rates levied on charities and what relief would mean to their ability to further serve their community and missions. After doing so they have garnered increased scrutiny by the state.
Distributors that behind closed government doors are disparagingly called “The Minnesota Mafia” are being audited by the Department of Revenue and given large bills for failing to collect sales and use taxes that they have never before been required to collect or pay.
A state employee has confirmed that the state is indeed formulating plans to relieve us of our role of being a 75 year old safety net covering every corner of our state.
What the future holds for charitable gaming is very much up for debate.
I am so very sorry that I and the state let you down.
In seemingly unrelated news Director Barrett at the Gambling Control Board meeting this past Monday announced that he will be leaving the GCB at the end of the 2019 fiscal year.