Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ budget plan calls for using $57 million of an anticipated $81.4 million in gambling revenue in fiscal 2009 to reduce the state’s debt.
The gaming money includes $40 million in revenue from racetrack slot machines, and $41 million in “irrevocable earnest money” put up by developers hoping to obtain one of four casinos to be licensed in the state.
The gambling expansion was approved by the Legislature in 2007, but the Kansas Supreme Court is considering its constitutionality. The law limits the use of gambling revenues to debt reduction, infrastructure improvements, and property tax relief.
The governor’s proposal for the gaming revenue includes several infrastructure projects, such as $4 million of renovations to state buildings, a $4 million Homeland Security training facility, and $3 million in housing assistance for storm-damaged Kansas communities, but no property tax relief.
She also wants the state to issue $15 million of bonds to renovate state university facilities and $50 million of bonds to build a new pharmacy school at the University of Kansas campus in Topeka.
Sebelius’s fiscal 2009 general fund budget totals $6.4 billion, an increase of 4.6% from fiscal 2008 expenditures.