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Efforts to re-open Kansas horse tracks continue in State House

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A racehorse is prepped for a post-race cool down. (Journal photo by Kylene Scott.) 

Race for Kansas supporters shared economic benefits of horse and greyhound racing with legislators in Topeka, Kansas, March 3.

As Kansans learn the state received $53 million less than expected in tax revenue furing February 2016—forcing a $17 million budget cut to higher education, Race for Kansas (HB2537) offers a solution to supplement the budget shortfall with more than $23 million of additional revenue to the state of Kansas. On Feb. 25 legislators in the Commerce, Labor and Economic Development Committee hosted an informational hearing on the economic impact of Horse and Greyhound racing to Kansas commerce.

Representative John Barker, Abilene, sponsored HB 2537 and sees it as a positive move for Kansas. “Passage of HB 2537 is a boost to the Kansas economy, is good for Kansas agriculture and supports the addition of several thousand jobs in Kansas. The ranchers and businesses who support this legislation are not asking for any state incentives. They are simply asking that the tax rate be set at an economically viable level,” Rep. Barker stated during the hearing.

Dr. Arthur P. Hall presented his economic impact study on the Kansas racing sector to legislators today saying, “The bottom line is that the net economic impact of Horse and Greyhound racing is very positive.”

According to Dr. Hall’s economic impact study, the “restoration of live horse racing and greyhound racing in Kansas will generate an estimated 4,475 jobs, $291 million in annual wages, and $23 million in annual state and local tax revenue-not counting revenue derived directly from gaming.”

Dr. Hall added, “No economic development incentives are involved with restoring the racetracks. To motivate at least $160 million in private investment, the investor seeks only the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with the destination casinos, by partnering with the state on the same terms as the casinos.”

For more information and to support the initiative, visit Find your legislator and tell them why Race for Kansas is important to you, your business and your community.

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