Gambling vs. Internet sales tax: ETX weighs in -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Gambling vs. Internet sales tax: ETX weighs in

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The money talk is becoming even more interesting in Austin as lawmakers come up with ways to shore up our 23 billion-dollar budget shortfall.

School districts are already scrambling in anticipation of close to 10-billion dollars in cuts.

Just days ago, the Governor announced we'd be tapping into the State's rainy day fund.

This week, lawmakers tossed around two more ideas on the  legislative table.

Casinos and slot machines could be just the jackpot pun intended.

Texans could get to vote on a constitutional amendment that would expand gambling in the state on Indian reservations, and inside bingo halls.

"Big no," says Phyllis Pylant, who doesn't believe in gambling.

"That'd be wonderful, that'd bring some revenue in here.It might create some jobs," says Mark Lozano.

"Not the wrong jobs--the right jobs," says Sharon Wickware.

The Texas Gaming Association says one proposal could bring in 1.2 billion dollars a year in taxes alone.

"I've been in the legislature for 13 years, and I've voted against every gambling bill during every session," says State Representative Leo Berman. "It's no way to fund Texas. It's no way to fund schools."

State lawmakers are also considering a bill that would require internet retailers to collect state sales tax if the company has any kind of connection to Texas.

Amazon recently announced it's shutting down a Texas warehouse--to avoid paying sales tax.

The state says it owes more than $260-million dollars in sales taxes it failed to collect and pay from online sales.

The Supreme Court's ruled for a state to require a company to collect and pay sales tax, the state must prove the company has a physical presence in Texas. 

Texas House Bill 1317 would include companies that use Texas-based web sites to market their products...

"Texas has always been different; we've not taxed everything we can," says internet consultant Clyde Hays. "And we've tried to build business. This bill will not allow businesses to build like they have."

Multiple versions of the internet sales tax bills were discussed during hearings, on Tuesday.

They're still pending.

One of the gambling measures would license eight casinos and slots at eight racetracks.

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