Opening prayer before Beshear's speech slams gambling proposal, then Beshear makes his case

01/17/2012 06:13 PM

Hershael W. York, the pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, spent half of his prayer before Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget address making his case against turning to expanded gambling for state revenue.

“May they never resort to leveraging vice and avarice to pay our bills,” York said in what is normally a benign and ceremonial part of a governor’s statewide address.

“Help us to foster salaries and not slot machines, to build cares and enable jobs, not license casinos to entice the simple into losing what they have,” York said.

Beshear, who has supported expanded gambling, was preparing to give an address laying out his state budget proposal that he described as “inadequate” and containing “painful cuts” to key services.

Expanded gambling, Beshear has said could provide much needed revenue.

About four-fifths of the way through his budget address, Beshear pivoted to make the case for more revenue through revamping the tax code and expanded gambling.

“You’ve heard a lot of arguments about why gaming is or isn’t right for Kentucky,” Beshear said. “But you haven’t heard a single argument as to why Kentuckians shouldn’t be allowed to vote on this proposal.”

Beshear went on to say that expanded gambling “isn’t an end unto itself.”

He said license fees for casinos

“Just think with me about what we could do with an influx of annual tax receipts of $377 million,” he said, then ticked off a list of education initiatives, such as helping public universities lower tuition rates and raising teacher pay.


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