A state lawmaker from Louisville says the issue of expanded gaming isn’t dead yet.
Rep. Larry Clark says that he met with representatives from five Kentucky racetracks and the head of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to allay concerns of the thoroughbred industry over a bill he has filed that would expand gaming in the commonwealth.
“We discussed a lot of issue that were on the table, and we resolved a lot of ‘em," the Jefferson County Democrat said. "They’re gonna be back with us Friday on some issues that we think are critical to passing a constitutional amendment and passing gaming but it was very productive today, one of the better meetings we’ve had in quite a few years.”
A similar bill filed in the Senate has been met with reluctance by Republican leadership in that chamber.
A bill that would establish a public database of economic development and tax incentives offered in Kentucky has cleared a House committee.
Rep. Larry Clark filed the bill that would require the state’s Economic Development Cabinet to provide information on how much money the state gives to private companies for the purposes of job creation.
“This will track everything," the Louisville Democrat said. "It’ll be accountability, transparency, first for the website, we’ll let the public know how to access everything that’s going on in each cabinet. Secondly, they’ll have to report back to us, and then we can evaluate the return on our investment, what activities goin’ on across the state, and especially how effective we are.”
Clark’s bill would also make public the number of jobs created and wages paid by the project.
The New York Times has reported that over a billion dollars in incentives has been handed out in Kentucky. Currently, the state does not have an official mechanism to account for that.
Nearly $600 million of that annual sum goes toward “energy development” and the coal industry.
A high-ranking Kentucky lawmaker believes there’s enough public support to pass a constitutional amendment to expand gambling in the state.
But House Speaker Pro Tem Larry Clark also admits that getting the necessary votes in the legislature remains an uphill fight.
The Louisville Democrat testified before the House Licensing and Occupations committee Wednesday about a pair of measures on the issue, including his bill that would ask voters whether casinos should be allowed.
“The Senate also has a constitutional amendment on this subject, and the Governor is engaged as well," Clark said. "I think we’re in a good position this year to make progress.”
A Senate bill sponsored by Louisville Republican Dan Seum would allow up to seven casinos in the state and set aside 10 percent of revenues to benefit Kentucky’s horse industry.
A Kentucky lawmaker has filed a pair of bills that will again bring the issue of expanded gaming before the General Assembly.
State Rep. Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat, has pre-filed legislation that would place a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2014 ballot asking Kentucky voters if they permit "the General Assembly to pass laws authorizing casino gaming?” according to language in BR 108.
Clark's companion gaming bill, BR 109, would establish the Kentucky Gaming Commission, a body comprised of nine members appointed by the governor that would regulate up to eight casinos under the proposed legislation, with an annual operational budget of no more than $5 million.
Out of a total estimated $830 million in gross revenue generated by the casinos, about $286 million of that amount would be collected in state taxes from casinos by the measure, according to an estimate conducted by the Legislative Research Commission.
For the first time, the state has official figures on how much money Kentuckians bet online or over the phone on horse races that take place in the commonwealth. State Senator Damon Thayer says about $47 million was wagered in the first half of the year.