More gambling is not the answer
Gambling expansion is once again on the table in Kansas, and the question should be: Whom does it benefit?
The Legislature is considering two bills, House Bill 2173 and Senate Bill 207, that would expand gambling by authorizing new and additional casinos. The moral and cultural degeneration that occurs around gambling has been widely documented in academic literature. Addictions, debt and bankruptcy, job loss and divorce are ills that create a strain on our community and government resources. Those societal ills disproportionately affect those who can least afford it.
We don’t need more gambling in Kansas.
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But there’s more to these bills than what meets the eye. Both also violate current state law and would be a very serious breach of the current management contracts. This could result in Kansas taxpayers paying millions of dollars in fees and penalties to the current casino managers.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt has taken a look at similar bills in the past and determined that if they were to pass, the state would surely end up in court. Taxpayers could have to pay an estimated $111.9 million in fines and penalties. That amount compounds and grows every year thereafter. That would make the state’s current difficult budget situation even worse.
Furthermore, the Kansas Constitution says the lottery, casinos and race tracks must be state owned and operated. State law allows for only four entities in their respective zones. So, practically speaking, allowing a new vendor to operate would be competing against any financial interests the casinos might represent to benefit Kansas as a part of the state-owned agreement.
HB 2173 and SB 207 are a huge cultural and financial risk for Kansas families with all the benefits going to out-of-state gambling facility owners/managers. It’s a gamble we should not take.
Eric Teetsel, Wichita
President, Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Are middle-class and poor voters feeling “Trump Universitied” yet? Over-the-top promises made then nothing delivered.
President Trump is going to work 24/7/365 on America’s problems? He plays golf every weekend in Florida. Repeal and replace Obamacare? He tried twice and was rejected by the party that made it the centerpiece issue for the past 7 years. Build the wall? Trump tried to force Democrats to get American taxpayers to pay for it, and now it has been taken off the table. Mexico paying for the wall? Don’t make me laugh. Labeling China as a currency manipulator? All it took was a five minute phone call with China’s leader to change Trump’s position. Muslim ban? Zero for two. Drain the swamp? There are even more Wall Street executives and insiders.
Now Trump is looking to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. How would he help pay for it? By taking away the tax exemption on your 401(k) retirement plan.
The Republican Party exists for one reason and one reason only – to cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations. It’s redistribution of income from the middle and bottom to the top.
Middle-class and poor Republican voters keep voting against their own best self interests.
J. Duncan, Wichita
President Trump advanced to the presidency by skillfully providing scapegoats for disaffected voters, turning them against their own self interest and against the “others” named in repeated rages about the American hellscape.
Let’s consider another, more realistic hellscape to come when climate change has caused large-scale human migration, extinctions, famine and disease.
Millions will suffer and will be looking for whom to blame for much more personal reasons than the outcome of an election. It will be possible to know who made the decisions, who held power when there was still time to alter the outcome next generation hellscapers endure.
How will the progeny of Trump and Sen. James “Snowball” Inhofe, R-Okla., be treated when the majority of western civilization’s inhabitants suffer as the Third World does now? The rich and powerful may believe their descendants will be protected by wealth. However, history shows that when lifestyle inequality between sufferers and the elite becomes wide enough, the 99 percent have nothing to lose and they take their revenge.
On one of the Sunday interview shows, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, continued the established Republican/fossil fuel industry lie that more study is needed before action can be taken. When the inevitable crisis comes, Trump’s scapegoat tactics may be reversed and the progeny of the culpable may be held accountable, bigly.
Jerry Cooper, Wichita
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