Kentucky’s highest-ranking Republican lawmaker says he will oppose any expanded gambling measure that uses political patronage to garner support.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers says he isn’t opposed to expanded gaming if it has unified support, but he doesn’t want the issue to be advanced by a trade of votes for pet projects.
“I’m not talking about anything that’s illegal,” Stivers says. “It’s part of the process that somebody gets a road, or if you do this, we think we can do this, you know, the promising of these things in exchange for a vote. That puts us in a worse fiscal position, has the potential to put us in a worse fiscal position than we’re in now. And if that happens I’ll do everything from a policy standpoint to try to stop it.”
Two sets of expanded gaming bills have already been pre-filed in the legislature. Supports say gambling could raise hundreds of millions of dollars in additional tax revenue for the state. Meanwhile, state leaders expect that the state’s revenues won’t cover its priorities in the next budget.