By Karl Peterjohn, Kansas Taxpayers Network
State owned and operated casinos are constitutional and permissible in Kansas. The extremely activist and left-wing Kansas Supreme Court unanimously ruled June 27 that state owned and operated casinos were legal in Kansas. For many statehouse observers this wasn’t a surprise.
The Kansas Supreme Court is dominated by liberal Democrats with three of its seven members having been appointed by Governor Sebelius. Since there has never been any statewide votes by Kansans authorizing a change in the Kansas Constitution to authorize state owned casinos. The Kansas top court has ruled that under the provisions of the lottery amendment adopted in 1986 casino gambling in a limited number of places is constitutional! This is an outrageous act since the Kansas Constitution does not authorize casinos but does have provisions authorizing the state lottery as well as dog and horse race track gambling.
Kansas is now the first state in the country where monopoly franchises in certain geographic sectors will be permissible under the state owned and operated provisions of the 2007 casino law. Some may argue that the businesses buying the casino permits to actually run the casinos will be operating in a non socialist manner but this is actually a growing way of doing business in Kansas.
Let’s call these new state owned and operated casinos the 2008 private-public partnership in Kansas. Critics will probably call it a new state gambling monopoly.
In some ways this is similar to Wichita’s city owned Hyatt Hotel. The Hyatt is attached to the Wichita Convention Center and regularly lost thousands of dollars a year under their initial ownership agreement until 2001 when the massive losses from the 9-11 atrocities forced a restructuring. More recently the city of Wichita was asked to provide millions in a very low interest loan to a private theater in downtown Wichita. The city council gave initial approval to this new business subsidy.
State owned and operated normally means socialism. If it is under nominal private ownership but the state exercises control over critical operations, the normal political science definition is fascism or often also called state capitalism. In either of the latter two cases the same result occurs with big government politicizing economic decision making.
This is just like Governor Sebelius and her bankrupt cabinet member Rod Bremby who suddenly decided to re-write Kansas pollution statutes by deciding that carbon dioxide was now a pollutant and suddenly applied it to the Sunflower power plant expansion in Holcomb. Sunflower is challenging this decision in the courts but the Kansas Supreme Court is Sebelius’ rubber stamp.
In contrast with the Sunflower plant, Sebelius and Bremby were not nearly as fastidious about carbon dioxide pollution when the Sebelius administration gave approval for a new government power plant in Manhattan. This authorization was part of the bio-defense facility proposal. The key in Sebelius’ Kansas is: state owned and operated is good. Private sector is not.
Socialism and the state control over key parts of this state’s economy is alive and well in Kansas. That is bad economic news for the average Kansan and a problem for the economic future of this state.