Or how to turn the State House into a circus.
LEO’s Jennifer Oladipo and Cary Stemle take a look at the push to legalize casino gambling in Kentucky and they do it from both sides of the debate. It’s a decent examination of what’s going down in Frankfort these days and is an especially good read since, well, it’s timely. Take a peek.
Snake Oil or Savior? CLAIMS ARE FLYING FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE CASINO DEBATE — SHOULD WE BELIEVE ANY OF IT?
There are no quick fixes for a $900 million budget deficit, poor national education rankings, an aging population and a host of other issues Kentucky faces now and in the near future. Gov. Steve Beshear and others say casino gambling, twice eschewed by Kentucky voters, will go a long way toward alleviating some of those problems. Consequently, Kentucky lawmakers are now debating a proposed constitutional amendment offered by Beshear that would legalize casino gambling.
The governor’s plan offered 12 casinos — seven freestanding and five tied to racetracks. Lawmakers shot back last week with a proposal for nine, five of which would be tied to racetracks; Beshear has said he’s amenable to the idea. On Tuesday, the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee voted down that proposal, leaving the casino bill stalled in committee. Beshear was sharply critical of lawmakers for the move, saying in a statement that it was time for them to get their act together and move the bill.
Casino supporters are banking on letting the voters decide, and surveys have shown that most voters would at least like the opportunity to vote on the issue. But what voter could be blamed for confusion about casinos with so much rhetoric on both sides: Will casinos mark the true end of morality in Kentucky? Will they help fund new education and culture initiatives? Will they invite more vice to the state? Will they attract young people with disposable income? Are we ceding our state to the whims of the unsavory? Will healthcare become more affordable if casinos are here?