Competing proposals on spending potential casino tax revenue in Richmond put to vote

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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Richmond’s mayor and city council are betting on how to spend the roughly $30 million the ONE Casino and Resort would generate annually in tax revenue if built.

“We will discuss the two newspapers this evening. the mayor’s paper has merit. It just does if you look at the cogs and bolts of it,” said Mike Jones of Richmond City Council.

The mayor promises a two-cent reduction in the city’s property tax rate. Currently, the rate is $1.20 per $100 of assessed value.

“We have seen that everything goes up. The price of gas, the price of your Oreos, all of them are going up across the country and so we think right now people deserve this two cent tax cut on property taxes,” the mayor said. Levar Stoney, City of Richmond.

Voters narrowly killed the casino project last year. But, the mayor and city council have revived the idea and it’s back on the ballot this fall.

Another proposal would pledge one-third of casino tax revenue to the school division. But the mayor says his budget will fund public schools and infrastructure needs.

“When you talk about school funding, obviously that’s going to be there. It’s already in our plan. And so I don’t think both are necessary,” Mayor Stoney said.

The city’s public school division is poised to lose at least $7 million in public funding next year due to declining student enrollment and rising real estate values. These are two metrics that state officials use to determine school division funding.

“The concern is, is it before the vote? I do not think so. It just lets us know where we’re going if that happens,” Councilor Jones said.

A budget amendment, still pending, in the Virginia General Assembly could complicate matters.

This would prevent Richmond from holding another local casino gambling referendum until November 2023.

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