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Governor's budget includes $780 million from gambling

Facing another unprecedented budget mess…Kentucky’s governor says gaming revenue is still the answer.

“And the conclusion is clear, gaming revenue is the only practical option to begin funding long term priorities with recurring revenues,” Gov. Behear, D-Kentucky, told a joint session of the Ky. Legislature Tuesday night.

Beshear expectes that more gambling could pump almost $800 million into the state’s struggling financial system. He says more revenue is needed to head off major cuts..which could reach 20 to 25%.

“My friends, cuts of this magnitude could undoubtedly lead to mass layoffs and devastating damage on literally hundreds of critical services,” said Beshear during the 25 minute address.

Beshear says if lawmakers don’t approve outright expanded gambling..they should at least look more carefully at video lottery slots at horse racing tracks. Senator Ed Worley is sponsoring such a bill.

“My bill is just a pathway for the lottery commission to authorize issuance of licensing…regulation for slots at the tracks,” said Worley, D-Richmond.

That’s different from another bill that calls for a constitutional amendment approved by voter referendum. But some say there’s no chance of either passing.

“It’s evident they didn’t have the votes last time and they don’t have them this time. They need to get off this kick and get down to serious business,” said Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville.

Governor Beshear is also proposing no new tax increases and raises for state workers and teachers if more federal stimulus money comes this way.

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