Gambling revenue offers little help to property owners
BY BRIAN WALLACE, Staff Writer
The tax relief payoff from gambling revenue continues to be relatively small for Lancaster County taxpayers.
Property owners here will get an average break of $146 on their 2013-14 school tax bills from casino and slot machine revenue, according to numbers released by the state Department of Education.
The average tax cut is $3 less, on average, than the average for the 2012-13 school year.
A total of $18.5 million will be funneled into tax relief for nearly 125,000 county property owners in 2013-14.
The tax breaks will range from $64 per qualifying property in Eastern Lancaster County School District to $421 per property in School District of Lancaster.
Property owners in three districts -- Columbia, Penn Manor and Elizabethtown -- will get slight increases, while those in 13 other county districts will see no change or a slight decline.
Figures were not available for Cocalico School District.
The slots revenue goes directly to school districts, which deduct the amounts from the tax bills of qualifying taxpayers.
To get the tax cuts, property owners must obtain farmstead/homestead exclusions for their properties, which must be the primary residence of the owner.
The amount of tax relief provided to county taxpayers has changed little since 2008-09, the first year it was available.
Property owners that year got an average tax break of $149. That grew to $155, on average, the next year, but the tax breaks have been stagnant ever since.
The $146 average reduction for '13-14 represents a 5.4 percent cut in the average county school tax bill of $2,705.