Archive for Thursday, June 16, 2005

Governor touts expanded gaming to meet court order

June 16, 2005

— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says the state can increase school funding without a tax increase to comply with a Kansas Supreme Court order.

But she called on the Legislature to expand gambling in the state to shore up future budgets.

"If we just write a check and walk out the door, that is really irresponsible," Sebelius said during a news conference Wednesday.

She said without additional gambling revenue, funding for highways, higher education and other services would be at risk.

The Legislature will come into a special session June 22 to address a court order to increase funding to schools by $143 million.

State leaders say recent increases in tax receipts mean the Legislature can appropriate the additional funds without having to increase taxes.

But Sebelius said the second part of the court order - which means the state could be looking at having to approve a significant funding increase next year - must be considered when lawmakers return for the special session.

Allowing expanded casino gambling would help provide the necessary funds, Sebelius said.

Casino gambling currently is reserved to four tribal facilities in northeast Kansas. The state receives no revenue from those casinos.

There are a wide range of casino expansion plans before the Legislature, including one that would allow major "destination" casinos in Kansas City, Kan., Wichita, Dodge City, Junction City and southeast Kansas.

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