Between Polk County’s lease and revenue sharing agreements with Prairie Meadows, the casino contributes roughly $26 million annually to the county. The chair of the Polk County Board of Supervisors, Tom Hockensmith, says losing that tax-exempt status for the casino would take a big bite out of that amount.
“Your know, we could be looking at trying to negotiate a new lease agreement with a lot less revenue available. A lot less,” Hockensmith says. Prairie Meadows has also revenue sharing agreements with the City of Des Moines and all of Polk County’s school districts. And the casino is required by state law to give millions of dollars in charitable donations.
Hockensmith says the revenue generated by the Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack and Hotel has an extremely positive effect. “You go through and look at everything that they’ve done in this community and given back to this community, it would be a travesty for that to end,”Hockensmith says.”The taxpayers of Polk County are the ones that took the risk when this place was built, and they’re the ones that should be able to enjoy the revenues that are created as a result of that and be able to put them back into their community.”
It’s now known at this point why the IRS has deemed Prairie Meadows to be a for-profit company. The organization plans to appeal the decision. The IRS declined to comment.
Thanks to Sarah Boden, Iowa Public Radio