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Alabama educators want gambling tax

17 December 2008

MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- As reported The Huntsville Times: "Alabama can't rival Las Vegas or Atlantic City - or even Mississippi - but gambling has arrived here, and it could get even bigger if Indian tribes ever reach a compact with the state.

"And Paul Hubbert, the influential teacher lobbyist, says the Legislature should look at new taxes on the industry to shore up the state school budget. Alabama schools are facing severe cuts in 2009-10 because the recession has begun to cut tax revenue.

"Alabama has long been the home to greyhound race tracks in Birmingham, Eutaw, Mobile and Shorter, and bingo parlors are sprouting up all over the state

"Even though the state constitution expressly bans gambling or lotteries, bingo is legal in more than a dozen Alabama counties, including Limestone and Madison. Those counties have adopted constitutional amendments authorizing bingo for charity.

"...With all the glittering attractions of gambling and the money being dumped into it daily, the Alabama Education Association has seized on the idea of the state regulating and taxing the gambling industry, which its calls a $1 billion industry.

"...Hubbert says the state could impose a gross-receipts tax on the 'handle,' the total amount of money wagered at a dog track or bingo hall...."

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