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At an appearance to support Canterbury racetrack -- which is near closure because of the state government shutdown -- Republican Senate Finance Chair Claire Robling said she supports revenue from a racino to help solve the budget deficit.

Robling: ‘I am willing to raise some revenue’

Senate Finance Committee chair Claire Robling (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

At an appearance to support Canterbury racetrack — which is near closure because of the state government shutdown — Republican Senate Finance Chair Claire Robling said she supports revenue from a racino to help solve the budget deficit.

Joined by three other Republican legislators in Shakopee on Wednesday, Robling said she was not only willing to go over the $34 billion budget touted by GOP leadership, she said she would take on a leadership role in advocating the position.

“I am willing to raise some revenue,” Robling said, according to TPT’s Mary Lahammer, who pushed further to ask if the GOP senator planned to take a racino bill to Gov. Mark Dayton’s office.  “I’m willing to provide the leadership… I think our leadership is supportive of racino, it’s not a caucus position.”

GOP Freshman Rep. Kelby Woodard also supported racino revenue at the event, as an option to break the nearly two week-long state government shutdown over over how to close the $5 billion budget deficit. on the condition that the revenue be used to repay the $1.9 billion K-12 aid shift enacted in the last biennium.

In response to the legislator’s comments, GOP Freshman Rep. John Kriesel took a jab at the state GOP Party on his Twitter account. “That’s against the GOP platform. Be careful. Robots will get mad,” the Cottage Grove lawmaker tweeted. Kriesel is supportive of expanded gambling, and openly criticized the state party this session when Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb called on newly-elected RNC member Pat Anderson to resign after she started lobbying for racino.

Other GOP legislators have also talked about revenue this week. Freshman Sen. Dave Brown said in a St. Cloud education meeting with the governor on Tuesday that he would support more revenue as long as it was used to help pay back dollars borrowed from school districts.

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4 comments

  1. The correct quote from me is that I support the use of Racino revenue to pay back the K-12 education shift that had been approved by the previous legislature. The use of Racino revenue to pay for state debt obligations is not an increase in state spending. I am in full support of the $34.2 billion budget that we have proposed to Gov. Dayton.

    Rep. Kelby Woodard, Belle Plaine

  2. Really? How much will the state spend this biennium if Racino is enacted and the revenue generated by it is used to pay the education shifts this biennium? $34.2 billion?

    I don’t agree with the shifts – they’re an accounting gimick that kicks the can down the road (creating a hole in the next biennial budget), but this proposal would increase the budget.

  3. I am for all options to close the budget deficit, I believe Racino and other alternative revenue is needed. I would support Gov. Mark Dayton’s tax increase on the upper 2% also. I would propose reforming our state legislature into a unicameral legislature to cut cost of elections and legislative operating costs which would cut the deficit and streamline the process on deciding and passing future state laws and budgets. Both sides need to put bickering and partisanship aside in order to get Minnesota go forward again
    Josh D. Ondich, Prior Lake

  4. Agree with Dan McGrath, this is a ‘kick the can down the road\ opportunity, we need to seriously reduced state spending. The Racino option serves as an out for the weak as a solution for those politicians who can not say no to budget increases.

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