Video gambling push tax to be voted on at next Decatur City Council meeting
Video gambling is a $140 million business in Decatur and may be one of the fastest growing industries in our city. Between September 2020 – August 2021, $139.7 million was gambled and citizens lost $36.4 million at 483 machines across 85 establishments. On average, the gambling establishment and owners of the machines split $283,000 in citizen gambling losses per establishment. There is little if any evidence that the gambling industry is a net benefit to our city and its citizens, and the negative impacts of gambling include crime, bankruptcy, and addiction.
One way to recoup the costs of widespread gambling in Decatur is through a push tax. A push tax is a one cent tax imposed upon the gambler each time they push the video gambling terminal that is the joint responsibility of the terminal operator and licensed establishment to collect. Currently, three other municipalities in the state have adopted such a tax. I am supportive of a push tax as the city has a critical need for additional public safety, neighborhood revitalization, and economic development funds, all of which may be negatively impacted by the widespread gambling taking place in Decatur.
The city council will discuss and vote on the push tax at the next Decatur City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 7 at 5:30 PM in the Decatur Civic Center’s second floor theater. The agenda for the meeting also includes swearing in new city council member Dennis Cooper, authorizing demolition of delipidated structures, providing American Rescue Plan funds to the Children’s Museum of Illinois, and approving a collective bargaining agreement with the Decatur Police Benevolent & Protective Association.
The new agreement with the Decatur Police Benevolent & Protective Association is for a term expiring December 31, 2023, and provides a 2.25% annual increase in base pay, removes the city residency requirement, and will offer other benefits including a one-time signing bonus, stipend for recruiting new officers, and improved ability for the city to hire experienced officers from other police departments.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Meetings take place in the theater located on the second floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.