Daily Archives: Feb. 26, 2013

Follow legislative intent on problem gambling

When the 2007 Legislature made the controversial decision to allow state-owned destination casinos, it built in a social safeguard that even gambling opponents should have been able to support: a requirement that 2 percent of the gambling revenue from those casinos go to the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund. So it’s inexplicable that the state has allocated only 9 percent of that 2 percent to help problem gamblers so far, according to testimony heard recently by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, and that Gov. Sam Brownback’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal appears to entirely eliminate funds to treat problem gambling. It’s a further concern that $6.5 million of the $9 million generated for the fund so far went to Medicaid for services for other addictions. Legislative intent was clear, and a recent poll showed strong public support for using public funds to make problem-gambling treatment available and affordable. The Brownback administration needs to keep that promise.

GOP will get most blame on sequester

Though much of the public is still tuned out of the sequester debate, 49 percent said they would blame Republicans in Congress if the automatic spending cuts happen, while 31 percent would blame President Obama, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center and USA Today. Also, 49 percent said they would rather see the cuts delayed, while 40 percent said they would prefer having the cuts go into effect rather than delaying them again. Just 19 percent want a deal that includes no tax increases, as the GOP wants, while 76 percent want the deal to include both tax hikes and spending cuts, as Obama wants.