LEVITTOWN >> State Rep. Tina Davis on July 17 announced legislation that would direct the proceeds of sports betting to property tax relief in Pennsylvania.
“Far too many homeowners across Pennsylvania are feeling the burden of rising property taxes,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “Senior citizens on fixed incomes are often faced with struggling to pay for their food and medication without losing their homes.”
Davis’ bill would direct the 34 percent tax on daily gross sports betting revenue to the Property Tax Relief Fund. Davis announced the legislation at a news conference at the Levittown home of Gemma Livolsi, a senior citizen on a fixed income. She was joined by State Reps. Perry Warren and Helen Tai.
In 2008, Davis said she almost lost her home.
“It wasn’t about property taxes. It was about the economy,” she said. “I know what it feels like. I was in hock to Bank of America and it was a very bad time in my life. I was a realtor and my husband was a truck driver. I had three small kids and I did everything I could to save my home. Fortunately, I was able to do that because I was younger and I could work and get a job. So I was ready to do whatever I had to do. just to keep my house.
“A lot of people don’t have that ability when they are older,” Davis continued. “They feel trapped. Many of them use reverse mortgages and some of those haven’t been so great. That’s what we’re trying to avoid. Some are good and some are not.
“I don’t want people when they spend 50 years in their home to have to lose it at this age,” said Davis. “This is not a silver bullet, but it is another additional way that we can help people.”
Estimates from the state Department of Revenue indicate the sports betting program could bring in as much as $50 million per year once the program is fully phased in. Davis’ proposal would not affect the two percent local share assessment that sports betting hosts pay – which is distributed through the Commonwealth Financing Authority as grants for projects of public interest.
“When gambling was introduced in Pennsylvania, we were assured property tax relief. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen as much relief as we were promised,” Davis said. “I am committed to making sure that the proceeds from any further expansion of gambling will go toward property tax relief. This is not a silver bullet, but it is one way we can help make sure seniors like Mrs. Livolsi can live without fear of losing their homes because of their property tax bills.”