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Friday, June 12, 2009

Eagle-Tribune- "NH House may be shifting on slots"

Jarret Bencks in the Eagle-Tribune looks at ongoing budget negotiations at the State House, and interviews southern tier lawmakers about the chances of the House adopting gambling in the state budget:
The original budget plan from the House shored up a portion of the state's $650 million deficit with new taxes — including a capital gains tax — and spending cuts. But the Senate amended that plan, replacing those measures with six licenses for up to 15,000 slots around the state.

Proponents of legalizing slot machines will have to persuade members of the House that slots are a better resolution to fixing the budget than new taxes.

The committee met yesterday to review how each body came to its budget decision and get a feel for where each legislator stands on some of their major differences. The committee is expected to meet again this afternoon.

Based on licensing fees, legalizing slots would bring in an estimated $205 million for the state in the next biennium.
The key will be whether the House members of the Conference Committee would be willing to accept the slots plan. If that group doesn't agree to the Senate proposal, the full House won't be voting on it at the end of the month.

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