Hosmer to amend casino bill to give revenues directly to municipalities

CONCORD — Senators Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) and Lou D'Allesandro (D-Manchester) will offer an amendment to legislation authorizing slot machines and table games at two casinos to distribute $22-million of the annual tax revenues from gambling operations to cities and towns throughout the state.

Senate Bill 366, which was tabled in the Senate earlier in the session, will be brought to the floor for a vote on Thursday when D'Allesandro will propose the amendment.

Hosmer said yesterday that the cities and towns of District 7, which he represents, would receive $1.3-million in each year of the biennium. Laconia would receive $646,946, Belmont $77,735 and Gilford $86,370.

Hosmer said that during the past several years the state has reduced funding to cities and towns through the distribution of proceeds from the Rooms and Meals Tax and Highway Fund while increasing the contributions towns are required to make to the New Hampshire Retirement System. "This comes at a good time," he remarked. "Otherwise the pressures on local property taxpayers will only increase."

Tacitly acknowledging the stubborn opposition to the expansion of gambling in the House of Representatives, Hosmer remarked that increased funding to municipalities "should allay concerns about how this money will be spent among House members."

Hosmer said that he and D'Allesandro are seeking to muster support for the amendment from their colleagues on both sides of the aisle.