SB 194: End tax subsidy for gambling

January 22, 2019By Daniel Hauser

Chair Hass, Vice-Chair Bentz, members of the Committee,

My name is Daniel Hauser, tax policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy, and I respectfully submit this testimony in support of Senate Bill 194.

Highlighting a wasteful, poorly targeted tax break is an excellent way for this committee to kick off the legislative session. SB 194 ends the ability to deduct gambling losses, freeing up more than $10 million each budget period. It is not hard to envision better ways that Oregon could invest $10 million, including in programs that address gambling addiction.

This deduction is a way of making gambling losses less painful for about 10,000 Oregonians who use this deduction, potentially encouraging problem gambling. Regardless, it is difficult to see what benefit Oregon derives from providing this tax subsidy that is taking millions of dollars away from education, public safety, and other essential services.

I urge this committee to pass SB 194.