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Small charitable groups hurting

| Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Groups like our VFWs, fire companies and fraternal organizations help our youngest to oldest residents, providing educational and social opportunities to people across the 52nd District. Many times, these groups are able to offer such assistance through proceeds from raffles and drawings.

Recently, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law legislation that stands to prevent these organizations from carrying out their charitable works. Legislation originally drafted to help ease the burden of state regulations on small games of chance has led to the largest expansion of gambling in recent history.

Under the new law, about 4,500 taverns across Pennsylvania would be licensed to operate games such as raffles, daily drawings and pull-tabs. These establishments will be able to pay out up to $35,000 per week in prizes once reserved for our small groups.

Our small clubs and nonprofits already are facing enormous challenges in today's tough economic climate. Some have had to close their doors altogether. Unfortunately, this alarming trend could become the status quo.

But there are some bright spots in this law. Clubs that take in less than $40,000 annually may keep up to $20,000 for operating expenses, and only those with proceeds exceeding $20,000 yearly will be required to submit an annual report to the state. These regulations aim to ease burdens on our small groups as they work to stay afloat.

Deberah Kula

Harrisburg

Deberah Kula is a Democrat representing the 52nd Legislative District.

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