Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

December 28, 2011

Beshear pushes for gambling

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday he hopes a “fairly simple” constitutional amendment on expanded gambling will be introduced in the state Senate during the first week of the General Assembly, which convenes Tuesday.

“We are looking at a fairly simple approach to an amendment,” Beshear said during an end-of-the-year joint interview with several reporters. He said he is still “putting the final touches” on the amendment but he said people “don’t want to look at a 14-page amendment to determine whether they’re going to vote on it or not.” He wouldn’t say if the amendment would allow stand-alone casinos.

Details on how money from gambling might be spent would come later in enabling legislation if the amendment is approved by voters, he said. He declined to estimate how much revenue gambling might generate or who might sponsor the bill in the Senate.

Beshear, who resisted discussing tax reform during his re-election campaign, also said he will announce “some plans in the next week or two in the area of tax reform.” He was coy about what he would propose, declining to reveal any details. But he said he wants to see an increase in state revenue from any tax reform. Later, in response to a question about the state budget, Beshear said he did not foresee any money from tax reform in the next couple of years.

“I don’t think we can expect any additional revenue either from tax reform or gaming on which to base this upcoming budget,” Beshear said. “I think any new revenue will be down the road.”

That two-year budget, Beshear said, will “be one of the most difficult challenges, if not the most difficult” budget challenge since he’s been in office and during which time he has adjusted the budget 10 times.

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