Kansans should be mad.
Government-owned casinos shut down an entire industry in our state. The state picked winners and losers – and that is not the place of government. How did this happen?
About ten years ago, when legislation passed to allow state-owned casinos in Kansas, a last-minute change to the bill created a significant discrepancy. The operators of state-owned casinos only need to pay 22% in taxes, whereas privately-owned racetracks must pay 40%. This inequitable tax caused facilities such as the Woodlands in Kansas City, the Wichita Greyhound Park, and Frontenac’s Camptown Greyhound Park to close their doors. They simply could not operate under such an excessive tax burden,
These closings caused a ripple effect. Members of our agriculture community had to go out of state for their livelihoods. Kansas horse and greyhound trainers, breeders, owners and interdependent, related industries, can no longer successfully operate in Kansas. Talk about picking winners and losers – and the losers should not be small, family-operated businesses.
It’s time to right a wrong.
The Kansas Legislature has the opportunity to pass House Bill 2545 or its companion bill Senate Bill 427. The bills offer a simple fix to change an unfair law. When equity and fairness are returned, Kansas racetracks can reopen.
Passing this bill should be common sense. The return of racing to Kansas would provide new tax revenue to state and local governments. It would create about 4,000 jobs in the state and generate about $200 million in annual wages (http://raceforkansas.com/economic-impact/). And do you know how much reopening the tracks would cost the state? $0. Not one cent of economic development incentives from state or local governments is being requested.
Returning racing to Kansas means re-energizing a sport with a strong heritage in Kansas that traces back to the 1800’s. It means those who work in the horse and greyhound racing industry can stop spending their money out of state. Allied industries like farming, veterinary services implement firms, feed and equipment stores and other main street businesses will grow because they are supported by the racing industry.
Let’s level the playing field between government casinos and privately-owned racetracks. Contact your legislators and ask them to support racing’s return to Kansas.
For more information, visit www.raceforkansas.com.
By: The Greater Kansas Racing Alliance