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Rep. Bud Cook (R-Washington/Fayette) confirmed that he is seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would change the casino gaming Local Share Account (LSA) approval process in Washington County.

“As a member of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, I am deeply alarmed by the lack of transparency and potential conflicts of interest surrounding the LSA grant program,” said Cook. “Since I was sworn in as the representative of the 49th Legislative District in 2017, I have asked many questions. My findings have led me to the realization that reforms are desperately needed to ensure that the LSA grant program is held accountable, while guaranteeing the upmost integrity, fairness, and most importantly, open and transparent allocation of taxpayer dollars.”

Current law regarding the disbursement of local share funding from casino gaming varies from host county to host county. In Washington County, a portion of the local share is required to be awarded as grants through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for county public interest projects.

Cook’s legislation would require LSA revenue currently used for DCED grants to be distributed directly to Washington County school districts for the sole purpose of achieving additional property tax relief for homeowners.

Since the majority of tax revenue derived from slot machine gaming is currently used to lower property tax bills through the homestead/farmstead exemption program, Cook’s legislation would simply increase the funds available for participating homeowners in Washington County by leveraging LSA revenue.

“Without establishing this type of reform, major concerns will remain regarding conflicts of interest, special interest earmarking of funds or insider deliberation of projects in advance of the grant presentations,” concluded Cook. “We owe it to the taxpayers we represent to ensure that LSA funding is allocated with integrity, transparency, and above all, that projects are funded based upon their value to our communities and the opportunities to improve the quality of life for all.”

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