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Amusement Tax

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NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,Staff writer | April 29, 1992
County Councilman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd, says a 6-month-old, 50 percent increase in the county amusement tax is too harsh and should be repealed.Gray circulated a letter among council members last week,inviting them to join him in sponsoring a resolution that would lower the tax from 7.5 percent back to 5 percent over the next two years.Only Charles C. Feaga, R-5th, accepted the invitation.Gray's resolution would reduce the tax to 6 percent in fiscal 1993 and to 5 percent in fiscal 1994. The fiscal year begins July 1.Even before the county began adding another 2.5 percent to the tax last October, revenue from it had been declining as a result of a slowdown in the economy, Gray said.
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BUSINESS
By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | January 4, 2013
The Ravens and Redskins will host playoff games Sunday, about 30 miles and 31/2 hours apart. Hosting two of the NFL's four playoff games in Maryland offers something of an economic double shot for the state. The games bring an increase in local taxes, a significant boost to the host teams' bottom lines and could have a combined economic impact of about $20 million to more than $40 million. But economists say most of the money being spent in Baltimore and Landover this weekend would have been spent in the area anyway.
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NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF | April 10, 2005
Carroll County has exempted itself from taxing admissions to the Maryland Wine Festival - a county-sponsored event at the county-owned Carroll County Farm Museum. The action will have no effect on admission prices to the wine festival, said Dottie Freeman, the farm museum administrator. The tax amounts to 10 percent of the gate and is collected by the state after the event through the county comptroller's office. In recommending last week that the county commissioners vote to waive the admissions and amusement tax for the event, County Attorney Kimberly A. Millender said the wine festival would be the only event affected.
NEWS
By Sarah Fisher and Sarah Fisher,sarah.fisher@baltsun.com | June 19, 2009
Video poker machines would be subject to new licensing fees of $3,000 and exempted from the amusement tax under a proposal that the Baltimore City Council is considering as a way of generating revenue for the city's ailing budget. Currently, the money the machines make is taxed at the 10 percent amusement tax rate. But City Councilman Robert W. Curran says that many of the machines in the city are not registered and the tax is not paid, and that his bill, introduced in February, would ensure that more become registered.
NEWS
By Michael J. Clark and Michael J. Clark,Howard County Bureau of The Sun | May 14, 1991
A close political associate of Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker went to bat as a paid lobbyist last month for the promoter of Merriweather Post Pavilion, asking the executive to reconsider his plans to increase the county amusement tax.Mr. Ecker included the tax rise in the budget he unveiled April 16 but delayed its implementation until Oct. 1, after the Columbia pavilion closes for the season. The delay is expected to save the promoter about $150,000.Michael W. Davis, a Columbia lawyer who was co-chairman of Mr. Ecker's transition team and is chairman of a citizens' panel drafting an adequate public facilities ordinance, had written to Mr. Ecker April 12, asking him to discuss alternatives to the amusement tax increase.
NEWS
January 8, 2003
Clyde's, which operates restaurants in Chevy Chase and Columbia, should not be required to pay Maryland's admissions and amusement tax on gross receipts, the Court of Special Appeals said yesterday. Music played there is mostly for ambience, and the restaurant does not rely on a cover charge or additional food and beverage sales to pay for the entertainment, the court held in a 2-1 decision. The ruling came in a failed appeal by the state comptroller's office, which also lost bids in Tax Court and Baltimore City Circuit Court to collect the taxes from the Washington-area restaurant chain.
NEWS
By Robert Guy Matthews and Robert Guy Matthews,SUN STAFF | June 7, 1996
Buckling under pressure from the mayor to support a new tax, the Baltimore City Council gave preliminary approval last night to a measure that will cost city parking garage users more money to work and shop downtown.During the special meeting, the council voted to increase the city tax on parking lots and garages by an average of 8 percent -- less than half of what Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke had sought.The council also gave preliminary approval to an amusement tax on pinball and video game operations.
NEWS
October 20, 1997
SUPPORTERS OF a resolution to reduce amusement taxes for six businesses in Howard County have failed, to this point, to make a solid argument for the change.The proposal, co-sponsored by County Executive Charles I. Ecker and Councilman C. Vernon Gray, lacks a strong rationale and is too generous for at least one of the establishments that would benefit.Howard County's amusement tax rate already is among the lowest in the area. The state allows jurisdictions to set the rate up to 10 percent.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,Sun Reporter | February 1, 2007
State Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning tavern owners with video poker games, pool tables and jukeboxes that they have until next week to set up a tax account with his office or face possible audit, fraud penalties or criminal prosecution. "Please be advised that the Comptroller's Office will take action to the fullest extent of the law to ensure that you are in compliance with ... state tax laws," Franchot stated in his Jan. 25 letter, a copy of which was provided to The Sun. Revenue from coin-operated games, which are prevalent in Baltimore bars and neighborhood stores, is subject to an amusement tax, a 10 percent tax on gross receipts.
NEWS
February 22, 2009
For years, Baltimore has been shortchanged tens of millions of dollars in amusement tax revenue from unlicensed video poker machines in bars and other businesses and the alleged illegal gambling that occurs. City Councilman Robert W. Curran has come up with an inventive plan to beat the businesses at their own larcenous game. He wants to exclude the machines from the state's 10 percent amusement tax and instead charge a $3,000 fee per machine. Now there's a jackpot. Mr. Curran is expected to introduce a bill into the City Council tomorrow that proposes the new fee structure, which he says could generate $5 million or more in revenue for the city each year.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | May 31, 2009
Gamblers sipping beer at the East Baltimore bar have plenty of options. There's a Keno monitor in one corner. A vending machine offers scratch-off lottery tickets in another. Screens show horses running in another. And against one wall stands a bank of four video poker machines. The first three types of games present legal opportunities to win or lose cash. But the row of video poker machines are supposed to be for amusement only: If you win, you aren't supposed to get money back. But seasoned gamblers and even industry representatives say many bars like this one pay out cash to the winners, though such transactions are made in backrooms, or sometimes even bathrooms.
NEWS
February 22, 2009
For years, Baltimore has been shortchanged tens of millions of dollars in amusement tax revenue from unlicensed video poker machines in bars and other businesses and the alleged illegal gambling that occurs. City Councilman Robert W. Curran has come up with an inventive plan to beat the businesses at their own larcenous game. He wants to exclude the machines from the state's 10 percent amusement tax and instead charge a $3,000 fee per machine. Now there's a jackpot. Mr. Curran is expected to introduce a bill into the City Council tomorrow that proposes the new fee structure, which he says could generate $5 million or more in revenue for the city each year.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,Sun Reporter | February 13, 2007
State Comptroller Peter Franchot announced yesterday that his office will begin visiting and inspecting businesses with amusement devices such as video poker games and pool tables to ensure that owners are paying amusement taxes on the machines. Franchot's office sent out warning letters to machine owners that had yet to set up tax accounts with the state last month, telling them that they had until Feb. 8 to do so. Failure to comply, Franchot warned, would result in possible audit, fraud penalties or criminal prosecution.
NEWS
By Lynn Anderson and Lynn Anderson,Sun Reporter | February 1, 2007
State Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning tavern owners with video poker games, pool tables and jukeboxes that they have until next week to set up a tax account with his office or face possible audit, fraud penalties or criminal prosecution. "Please be advised that the Comptroller's Office will take action to the fullest extent of the law to ensure that you are in compliance with ... state tax laws," Franchot stated in his Jan. 25 letter, a copy of which was provided to The Sun. Revenue from coin-operated games, which are prevalent in Baltimore bars and neighborhood stores, is subject to an amusement tax, a 10 percent tax on gross receipts.
NEWS
By LYNN ANDERSON and LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER | January 31, 2006
Upset by a recent report that showed that Maryland was missing out on millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenue as a result of illegal video gambling, a Montgomery County lawmaker and candidate for state comptroller announced yesterday that he will introduce legislation to improve regulation of the industry. "What we are faced with here is honest businesses have to pay their taxes but those with illegal machines are allowed to slide by," said Del. Peter Franchot, a Democrat from Takoma Park who has announced that he will run against Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.
NEWS
By LYNN ANDERSON and LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER | January 25, 2006
Operators of amusement video games in hundreds of corner bars and mom-and-pop convenience stores cheat the state out of $15 million annually in uncollected tax revenue and make illegal payments to players, according to a report released yesterday by the Abell Foundation. The study of the vending machine industry in Baltimore City and Baltimore County found that operators of the games, including video poker, under report their taxable earnings by $63 million to $153 million a year. And that as a result, residents in both municipalities are missing out on millions in possible revenue.
NEWS
By Kerry O'Rourke and Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer | April 18, 1995
The EnterTRAINment Line President Donald S. Golec will argue in Maryland Tax Court tomorrow that his excursion company pays all the taxes it should."To make it sound like I'm stealing tax dollars is not accurate," said Mr. Golec, 46, of Eldersburg.But the state comptroller's office will counter that the business owes about a half-million dollars in admissions and amusement tax to Union Bridge and Westminster."Nobody wants to see any business fail," comptroller spokesman Marvin A. Bond said.
NEWS
By John Rivera and John Rivera,Staff Writer | December 16, 1993
Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall, entering his last year of office, has a slim wish list for the county's legislative delegation when the General Assembly session starts next month.Mr. Neall is requesting just one piece of legislation, a bill that would enable the county to apply the amusements tax to instant scratch-off bingo cards that are sold at bingo parlors."We like to take every opportunity to gather new monies into the county," Myron V. Wotring, Mr. Neall's legislative liaison told a gathering of the county's state delegates and senators last night at the annual legislative dinner at the Loew's Annapolis Hotel.
NEWS
By Sheridan Lyons and Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF | April 10, 2005
Carroll County has exempted itself from taxing admissions to the Maryland Wine Festival - a county-sponsored event at the county-owned Carroll County Farm Museum. The action will have no effect on admission prices to the wine festival, said Dottie Freeman, the farm museum administrator. The tax amounts to 10 percent of the gate and is collected by the state after the event through the county comptroller's office. In recommending last week that the county commissioners vote to waive the admissions and amusement tax for the event, County Attorney Kimberly A. Millender said the wine festival would be the only event affected.
NEWS
By Laura Loh and Laura Loh,SUN STAFF | March 12, 2004
The Anne Arundel County teachers union released results yesterday of a recent survey showing that voters think education is a more pressing issue than the economy or the county's growth and, separately, would support a tax increase, if needed. The phone survey of 819 randomly selected Anne Arundel voters found that a majority was in favor of a slightly higher income tax rate that would cost the average household an extra $75 a year. The tax-increase question was not specifically linked to education.
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