What does the expanded gambling measure say and will Jerry Abramson run for governor?

02/08/2012 05:32 PM

A “very broad, very clean” constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to approve casino gambling has the votes in the Senate and will be unveiled as soon as the filing deadline for legislative candidates passes, Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson said.

Abramson declined to discuss specifics of the proposals, such as whether the measure will allow up to five casinos at racetracks and up to two free-standing casinos as past drafts of gambling proposals have suggested. He also wouldn’t say whether the proposed constitutional amendment would outline areas, such as education, transportation and the horse racing industry, that would receive some of the revenue.

“I think it will be very broad, very clean,” Abramson said of the language for the constitutional amendment (0:30). “We’ll have to see. You don’t want to get down in the weeds in the constitutional amendment.”

Gov. Steve Beshear used both of his statewide addresses last month to highlight the need for the legislature to pass a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling. The measure requires approval of three-fifths of each chamber and, if passed, would have to be ratified by voters in November. But so far the proposal, which is likely to be sponsored by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, hasn’t been unveiled — and won’t until the candidate filing deadline passes.

“The reality here is that legislators here are uneasy in terms of their upcoming elections, and we want to give them an opportunity to look around, look over their shoulder, understand who is going to be competing against them,” Abramson said. “That’s the way they want to do, and that’s fine.”

Abramson also is heading up the blue ribbon commission on tax reform that Beshear is creating.

That commission is charged with recommending broad changes to the tax code, which are likely to affect a wide swath of individuals, industries and interest groups. For some, the tax burden might go down. For others it might go up.

Abramson’s name also has come up as a potential contender for governor in 2015 when Beshear, who is limited to two terms, finishes his time in the governor’s mansion.

In that case, Abramson might find himself receiving campaign donations from industries or interest groups whose tax bills were altered by potential changes to the tax system that Abramson’s group recommends.

Find out if Abramson plans to run starting at 2:25 of the video.


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