Gov. J.B. Pritzker and lawmakers in both parties should be applauded for taking a balanced approach on video gaming taxes that will bring in more money for statewide construction projects without harming small businesses, fraternal organizations and veterans’ groups.
While initially considering an additional 20 percent tax on video gaming machines, they ultimately approved a more modest 3 percent tax increase to pay for new roads, bridges and buildings. At the same time, businesses would be allowed to increase the number of machines per location from five to six. This means small businesses like mine, George Rank’s in Springfield, won’t lose our video gaming revenue that has transformed our operations in recent years.
The extra income from video gaming machines has allowed us to address maintenance emergencies that come with operating in a historic building and allowed us to hire additional employees at an hourly salary far above the state’s minimum wage. We’ve also been able to give back to our community by sponsoring adult and youth sports teams, and raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through Wrestling for a Cure.
We’re glad lawmakers listened to our concerns and found a solution that will allow us to continue to make investments in our community while also rehabbing our state’s infrastructure. It’s a win-win.