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Commissioners see HB 1540 amended

Harrison County officials made a trip up Interstate 65 yesterday (Tuesday morning) to be on hand in Indianapolis to make sure an amendment to House Bill 1540 was approved, saving millions of future riverboat dollars for Harrison and other riverboat counties.
The amendment did pass the House, 96 to 1, yesterday afternoon, with only Ed Clere, R-New Albany, voting against.
As the bill was written, before the proposed amendment passed, Harrison County stood to lose millions of riverboat gaming dollars.
According to a fiscal impact study conducted by the Legislative Services Agency, the bill authored by Rep. Thomas Dermody, R-LaPorte, would result in a $6 million loss for Harrison County in 2016, $7 million in 2017 and $10 million in 2018.
The bill would have repealed the admissions tax on Jan. 1, 2017, eliminated the supplemental distribution from the wagering tax after Dec. 31, 2016, provided that certain economic development agreements were considered void on Dec. 31, 2016, and, among other things, increased the amount of revenue sharing provided from riverboat wagering tax revenues to $40 million and extended revenue sharing to all 92 counties in 2017.
The provisions that would cost Harrison County millions of dollars, such as tax changes and local development agreements, were removed from the bill with yesterday’s amendment.
‘It was going to hurt us,’ Commissioner George Ethridge said Monday night. ‘Several million. The amendment tomorrow will make us whole. We’re going to make sure.’
Ethridge complimented the lobbyist firm Frost Brown Todd and Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, for working on the county’s behalf.