Archive for Friday, December 8, 2006

Democrat proposes expanded gambling to pay for crumbling classrooms

Election ‘opened eyes’ to possibilities, Hensley says

December 8, 2006


— They've tried slots for tots and busted.

But a key state senator said Friday that expansion of casino gambling to pay for a backlog of repairs at regents universities might hit the jackpot.

"In terms of how we spend the money, there is no better purpose than to help the regents with their deferred maintenance problems," said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.

The six public universities have said they need $727 million to repair and maintain their facilities, including $285 million at Kansas University and KU Medical Center.

Last year, the Kansas Board of Regents proposed a tax increase to address the problem, but that went nowhere in the Legislature.

In Kansas, there are four American Indian-run casinos, from which state government receives no compensation.

Expansion of casino gambling is a perennial issue before the Legislature but has so far failed to advance, including proposals tied to raising funds for public schools and reducing property taxes.

But Hensley said gambling's chances may improve in the 2007 legislative session, which starts Jan. 8, because of House elections where a number of seats changed hands in favor of candidates who support expanded gambling.

"Given the significance of the issue during the campaigns, it has opened up some eyes on the House and Senate side," he said.

Hensley said his proposal would be similar to one debated last year that would have allowed resort-type casinos in several areas and slot machines at pari-mutuel tracks.

That measure would have raised approximately $150 million per year for the state budget, according to estimates.

Hensley would dedicate gambling revenues to repairs at the universities, community colleges and vocational-technical schools. After four or five years, the state could reassess where to dedicate the funds, he said.

Glenn Thompson of Wichita, executive director of the anti-gambling group Stand Up for Kansas, said he remained optimistic that the Legislature would reject casino bills because of the adverse economic and social effects of more gambling.

Earmarking the proposed funds for the universities, he said, "is typical of what casino proponents do every year; they jump on whatever horse is popular that year."


Raider 11 years, 3 months ago

I think they should legalize casino gambling, and set it up cimilar to what Missouri did. Put some casinos in KCK to take away from the funds that we give to Missouri in the form of gaming taxes. I would rather my gambling funds go to my own state rather than the one across the river.

If done right, this would be a benefit to our state.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 3 months ago

mini vegas just east of lawrence sound real good to meI hate driving an hour to gamble.

bd 11 years, 3 months ago

Let the horse/dog tracks have slots! They are already gambling on the races, no difference! Gambling is gambling horses, dogs or slots , its still gambling! GO FOR IT TONY!

Sigmund 11 years, 3 months ago

Legalize drugs and prostitution as well, Kansas will be rolling in the bucks!!!

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 3 months ago

I really think a mini vegas is a good idea just out sideof town world wide money come on please?

kansasmom 11 years, 3 months ago

Why not just place slots in the Student Unions and cafeterias of high schools? The students seem to have more money then we do and I'm sure they'd fill the machines to the brim!

CC 11 years, 3 months ago

Just make sure the casino's pay our new minimum wage and get no tax abatements or have a Wal-Mart inside.

skewed_veiw 11 years, 3 months ago

OMG.... How about we slash the coaches pay? NO better to take from the native americans..... again.

riverrat2 11 years, 3 months ago

Maybe the city could work out something with the State for the old Farmland property. This might even speed up the SLT completion and connecting x-chg with I-70. Casino would employ quite a few people also.

staff04 11 years, 3 months ago

Just glad to see someone is trying to find a way to pay for the repairs...

To those who are opposed, I would ask you how it affects you? Slot machines are basically a stupid person's tax anyway. Just don't gamble there.

BigDog 11 years, 3 months ago

To those who are opposed, I would ask you how it affects you?

Well increased crime, gambling addiction and bankruptcy impacts me and everyone else. I am not saying I am totally opposed to it, have gone to the casinos myself. I am just saying there is a price for it that we all pay, not just those who gamble.

KsTwister 11 years, 3 months ago

Well, the tables certainly have turned since March:

However, once again I will bring up that Kansas taxpayers were told to vote for gambling to begin in Kansas with proceeds going to the schools. If we had not put the fox in charge of the chickens then what was promised would not have us now paying for more in property taxes and increased school taxes now. Its a little late to massage my anger at lame government -city included.

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