Economic Impact Study shows Race for Kansas is a Win for Kansas
Topeka, Kan., February 24, 2016: As legislators tackle the Kansas budget – a budget plagued with decreased tax revenues and increased obligations to schools, roads, KPERs and a host of state-funded programs, Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses have a suggestion … Pass legislation currently in the House of Representatives (HB 2537) that would allow Kansas racetracks to once again be economically viable – just as the state-owned casinos are.
“Through a legislative misstep in 2007, Kansas racetracks are taxed at a higher rate than other gaming businesses in Kansas. It is time to fix this mistake,” shares Kimberly Svaty, spokesperson for The Greater Kansas Racing Alliance.
While, privately operated, state-owned casinos are taxed at the rate of 22 percent, Kansas racetracks are taxed at 40 percent. This disparity went unnoticed until all of the Kansas racetracks closed in 2008 due to the fact they are not economically viable at the current 40 percent tax rate. With their closure, Kansas lost thousands of jobs and millions in economic impact. Kansas has the opportunity to regain these jobs and dollars if the legislature will create parity between casinos and racetracks in Kansas.
The great news for Kansas is that there is proposed legislation to correct the 2007 mistake and create a win-win opportunity. According to a recent economic impact study by Dr. Arthur P. Hall, the four racetracks in Kansas – The Woodlands in Kansas City; Wichita Greyhound Park in Wichita; Camptown Racetrack in Frontenac and Eureka Downs in Eureka, would create approximately 4,475 jobs based on economic analysis using IMPLAN economic modeling. Combined, Kansans who work at racetracks and to support them would generate an estimated $23 million in income, sales and personal property taxes for state and local units of government annually. In addition, it is estimated that racetrack owners will spend approximately $160 million to upgrade the current facilities – dollars spent in Kansas on materials, supplies, labor and services. On top of this, the racetracks still must pay their fair share – 22 percent of earnings which will generate several million additional dollars in tax revenue each year.
“While there has been much debate recently on how well the Kansas economy is doing – as a stand-alone measure or compared to other states and the U.S., one thing is for certain, Kansas is in no position to turn down jobs, dollars invested in Kansas and Kansas tax dollars – especially when the businesses are asking for no state or local economic incentives to invest in Kansas,” Ms. Svaty went on to say.
“Since creating an economic environment in Kansas that closed Kansas racetracks in 2008, Kansas has lost thousands of jobs, hundreds of horses and millions of dollars. We see a prime opportunity for Kansas to close its budget gap and reduce unemployment even further – pass HB 2537,” shared Kansas rancher Jeff Rutland.
Kansas legislators will have an opportunity to hear from Dr. Hall and proponents of Race for Kansas at an informational hearing to be held on Wednesday, March 2 in the Old Supreme Courtroom at the Kansas Statehouse. Following the hearing, Dr. Hall’s full study will be available on the Race for Kansas web site.
For more information, to see the full economic impact study and to support the movement, visit www.RaceForKansas.com.
Race for Kansas, an initiative of the Greater Kansas Racing Alliance, supports rural agriculture and community economic development in Kansas. This initiative supports legislation that will create 4,475 jobs for Kansans, supports Kansas farms and businesses, generates Kansas tourism and helps solve the budget gap in Kansas.