Gov: All bets are off!
Kentucky won’t bet on budget

July 17, 2001 1:35 AM
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Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton said he doesn’t plan to bring up casino gambling as a way to plug the state’s multi-million dollar budget holes.

Patton told the Lexington Herald Leader that the 2002 legislative session would not be a prudent time for lawmakers to start cutting taxes, such as the personal property tax on motor vehicles.

The state’s $326 million budget shortfall this year has fueled speculation in Frankfort, the capital city, that casino gambling might again surface as a potential source of revenue.

“Look at the money Kentucky is losing to other states that have casino gambling,” said John Bays, owner of the Executive Inn Rivermont in Owensboro. “We need to get on board before it is too late.”

Two years ago, Patton launched debate on the issue when he suggested that lawmakers consider allowing land-based casinos in Kentucky. The debate fizzled when the idea met with strong resistance from the public and lawmakers.

“It would be a dishonest way of addressing a shortfall,” Patton said.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, laughed when asked whether he thought the budget problems merit a renewed discussion on casinos.

“I’m not going to bring that up,” Richards said.