A bingo hall request that could derail Minnesota’s $300M tax bill

Chris Shorba spent years trying to get the Minnesota Legislature to pass a tax break for charitable bingo halls like St. Cloud’s Bingo Emporium.

This year lawmakers finally did. That’s where everything went wrong.

The problem wasn’t in the tax break itself, which would let the state’s handful of nonprofit bingo halls pay a 9 percent tax instead of 36 percent. It was in a single word in the definition of a bingo hall: an “or” instead of an “and” that opened the door for bingo outfits around the state to get the tax break intended for the just dedicated bingo halls.

Now Gov. Mark Dayton is threatening to veto an entire $300 million package of tax breaks and credits for working families, cities, indebted students and others because of that single misplaced word. If it became law as is, Dayton says, that misplaced word that could cost the state an extra $101 million over the next three years. (Pioneer Press 6/6/2016)