A Senate committee today will debate a gambling bill while key lawmakers continue to negotiate behind the scenes on related details. Legislative leaders want the tracks to sign a contract that says they’ll accept the deal outlined in the bill and in return the tracks won’t ask to be paid the back taxes Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled were due the tracks. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says they won’t debate the gambling bill in the full Senate until that contract has been signed. Iverson says without a contract, “anybody can change their mind tomorrow” so with millions of dollars at stake, Iverson and others will insist on a signed deal. Senate President Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny who is an attorney, says the contract is part of the legal settlement which will hopefully close the books on the fight tracks waged against the state. Lamberti says they hope to have the issues resolved as soon as possible. The race tracks argued it was unconstitutional for the state to tax tracks at a rate that’s higher than riverboat casinos pay. The Iowa Supreme Court agreed, and ruled the tracks were due millions of dollars worth of back taxes. Today’s Senate State Government Committee meeting on the gambling bill is scheduled for two o’clock at the statehouse. The bill which passed the House allows table games at the tracks, but established a moratorium that forbids any new casinos in the state.
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