Archive for Friday, March 9, 2007

Bill would allow casinos, lower taxes

March 9, 2007

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— A key state legislator Thursday upped the ante on casino gambling by offering a bill to allow casinos and lower property taxes.

"Good times have come back and we need to start sharing those revenues again," said state Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee.

Siegfreid's committee will start hearings today on various proposals to expand gambling in Kansas.

On Thursday, House bills 2568 and 2569 were sent to his committee for consideration.

The bills essentially would set up a commission that would develop large destination casinos. The casinos could be built only after voter approval in the home and adjacent counties.

Currently, casino-style gambling is only allowed at four American Indian casinos in northeast Kansas from which the state receives no revenue.

Under Siegfreid's plan, some of the revenue from the proposed destination casinos would go into a fund to reduce local property taxes by $75 million per year.

"One of the problems we have had in the state of Kansas (is) property taxes are just relentlessly going up," he said.

But his proposal would not allow slots at existing pari-mutuel horse and dog tracks.

"These are private businesses. It should not be the state's position to prop up private business," he said.

Wichita Greyhound Park and The Woodlands in Kansas City, Kan., have been struggling for years and have asked to be allowed to put slots at the tracks.

Siegfreid said his bill wouldn't prohibit tracks from bidding to develop a destination casino.

The Federal and State Affairs Committee will have an informational hearing today and then convene at least three days of hearings next week on gambling bills.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said he wants to have a thorough airing of the issue.

"For the first time in a long time there are going to be actually extensive hearings on the gambling issue to try to ferret out what the people actually want to support," Neufeld said.

Comments

nut_case 8 years, 4 months ago

Why is it always a tit-for-tat game to get lower taxes? Put in a casino, or heavy industry and you 'might' get lower taxes. How come we never see a headline "Good Government Management Leads to Lower Taxes"

KsTwister 8 years, 4 months ago

Sure, when they want to build a Sports Hall of Fame in Kansas they want to use casino money ------what happened to it paying for education and schools!

BigDog 8 years, 4 months ago

KsTwister - Kansas schools already consume 2/3 of the entire state budget. How much more do they need? Here's an idea, how about if schools learn to better manage their money?

Centrist 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for it. Property taxes are just outrageous, in all counties, it would seem.

Remy 8 years, 4 months ago

Our kids get the best education money can buy... and then they leave the state because there is nothing to do here. Build a casino, stick one in Wichita too, and give us something entertaining to do with our nights, so we're less inclined to bail, leaving all the old people to fend for themselves in this retirement community we call Kansas.

preebo 8 years, 4 months ago

Remy,

excellent point, for one.

However, I don't think building casinos in Kansas is going to halt or even slow the 'Brain Drain" here in Kansas. It is obviously larger more sophisticated employers that is going to keep the educated class from leaving the state for greener pastures.

There isn't but a few empoyers in Kansas, save Boeing, that can take in the educated and the intelligent. No one wants to live here, let alone work here. The only reason I came here after Harvard Law was because my wife was from here and she wanted to come back home.

The one way to entice those businesses that would take advantage of a high human capital would be through tax incentives for the companies as well as the residents.

Show them that they can make better money and then allow them to keep more of it.

preebo 8 years, 4 months ago

Please forgive the "is" where there should obviously be an "are."

Ooops...

white_mountain 8 years, 4 months ago

How dare they give us back our personal & economic freedom!

Remy 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Preebo, I take your point, but to expand I'd say that when it comes to progress in entertainment, there is always a group against that is large enough to stop a (insert project here). So, I say YES to a casino, YES to a big ol' arena, YES to big outdoor shopping centers with huge tax breaks, YES to revitalizing downtowns, YES to condominium projects, YES, YES, YES. No, one thing won't solve the problem of "brain drain." Heck, I've never even been to a casino. Regardless, this is just a step in the right direction. Oh, and Sunday liquor sales would be nice too.

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