July 30, 2014

Liquor Control Board Lowers License Fee For Tavern Gaming Licenses

The Liquor Control Board Wednesday unanimously voted to lower the license fee of a Tavern Gaming License from $2,000 to $500.
The move resulted from a recent legislative change that allowed the PLCB to drop the license fee to a minimum of $500. The new fee structure applies to all new Tavern Gaming License applicants and to three applicants who have yet to pay the license fee.
“The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board understands the legislative intent to increase the number of Tavern Gaming Licenses issued. More licenses means more revenue for the Commonwealth,” said PLCB Chairman Joseph E. “Skip” Brion. “The Board is happy to lower the license fee in an effort to encourage more tavern owners to apply.”
Here’s how the Tavern Gaming License process works: An applicant submits an application packet along with $2,000. This nonrefundable application fee will not change. One thousand dollars remains with the PLCB for processing and $1,000 goes to the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission for a background investigation. After a successful background investigation is complete, the application goes before the PLCB.
If the PLCB approves the application, the licensee must pay a fee to receive the license. This is the license fee that was changed Wednesday. By statute, the license fee goes directly to the Commonwealth’s General Fund. It does not go to the PLCB.
“We have heard what the legislators have said regarding their desire to make the Tavern Gaming License process more affordable for applicants. It is their belief that, by lowering the license fee, the commonwealth will get more tavern owners to apply for tavern gaming licenses. That’s why we took this step today,” said Board Member Robert Marcus.
As of July 30, there have been 21 Tavern Gaming Licenses issued. Three applicants were approved by the PLCB and will receive their licenses once they pay the new, lower license fee. Two other applications are being processed and investigated.
“The PLCB remains willing to work with the Legislature to streamline and improve the Tavern Gaming License application process,” said Board Member Tim Holden.
For more information, visit the PLCB Tavern Gaming and the Department of Revenue’s Small Games of Chance webpages.

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July 28, 2014

Scarnati: Senate Works Toward Pension Reform

The Senate has recently passed bi-partisan legislation to begin reforming Pennsylvania’s pension system by moving members of the General Assembly and other statewide elected officials to a defined contribution plan, according to Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).
Sem/ Scarnati explained that last month the Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 922 (Brubaker-R-Lancaster), which takes an important first step to move all elected officials, including members of the General Assembly, out of a defined benefit public pension plan to remove this financial burden from taxpayers.
“Reforming public pension benefits is an important goal that Senate Republicans have been engaged in throughout the current legislative session,” Sen. Scarnati said.  “Leading by example is what Pennsylvania residents expect and deserve from their elected officials.”
The amended version of Senate Bill 922, which was approved in a historic vote by the full Senate, would remove members of the Senate and House as well as the judiciary from the current defined benefit pension plan. The bill would create a defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k) plan for legislators, the Governor, the Attorney General, the Auditor General, and Treasurer upon re-election, as well as the judiciary upon retention.
“Recently the governor has been traveling across our Commonwealth to speak with Pennsylvania residents about the need for pension reform,” Sen. Scarnati stated. “I appreciate that the governor shares our concern for the long-term sustainability of our Commonwealth’s pension systems, and look forward to sitting down with him to proactively work as a team to solve this problem.”
Sen. Scarnati noted that Members of the Senate decided to change their own pensions first, before asking others to make changes to their plans.  If changes are to be made to the retirement system for state employees, then those that vote for those changes should be held to the same standard.
“This issue did not arise overnight and requires that we work together to enact responsible pension reform in a strategic manner,” Sen. Scarnati said.  “I am very pleased to work with my colleagues in the Senate to take the first steps to address the long-term sustainability of the state’s public employee pension systems.”
Senate Bill 922 is currently before the House Finance Committee.

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