A gambling expansion bill that would allow table games at the state’s race tracks has been tabled temporarily. Republican Senator Larry McKibben and others are peeved with Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson for saying the legislature has “no leverage” to get a better deal with the tracks.McKibben, who’s from Marshalltown, used his power as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means tax-writing Committee to put a temporary hold on the bill. McKibben objects to the deal republican leaders have struck to avoid having the state pay millions in back taxes the tracks are due because of a lawsuit against the state. McKibben wants to consider an alternative — levying a state property tax on the tracks to raise the money to pay the legal settlement. McKibben says his Senate committee will examine all potential remedies. He says he will not accept a deal that would cost Iowa taxpayers — in his estimation — 250-million dollars. McKibben is most upset by the part of the proposed deal that says the state will not appeal the Iowa Supreme Court decision on race track taxes that went against the state. He says that gives up the legislature’s authority to write tax policy. McKibben says the state taxes all sorts of similar items differently. For example, sales tax it charges on a hamburger sold at McDonalds, but not on the raw hamburger sold in a grocery store. McKibben says if the decision stands, Iowa tax policy will be thrown into “utter disarray.” Some speculate McKibben is trying to stand in the way of giving Prairie Meadows table games which might drawn patrons away from the Meskwaki casino, which is in McKibben’s district. McKibben says by no means has he done anything other than to say he wants more time to talk about the tax issue and consider other options. McKibben refused to tell reporters whether he supports allowing table games at the tracks or whether he’d vote to allow more riverboat licenses in Iowa.
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