Thursday, April 26, 2001

House GOP reconsiders electronic slot machines

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — House Republicans trying to balance the two-year budget said Wednesday they're taking another look at legalizing electronic slot machines in Ohio.

        Gov. Bob Taft warned he would veto such a plan.

        Rep. Jon Peterson, a Republican from Delaware, said lawmakers want to raise about $500 million over two years from the machines at Ohio's seven horse racing tracks.

        “I'd say it's getting serious attention,” said Mr. Peterson, a top House Republican.

        “As we discussed earlier today, I want to reaffirm my opposition to including video lottery terminals (slot machines) as part of the biennial budget,” Mr. Taft said in a memo to House Speaker Larry Householder and Senate President Richard Finan released Wednesday afternoon.

        Mr. Taft's memo reminded the leaders of their March 19 pledge to develop “a responsible, balanced budget without bringing” electronic slot machines to Ohio.

        “That effectively makes it dead,” said Mr. Finan, of Evendale. “There's no way we're going to pass a budget bill with VLTs in it when the governor says he's going to veto it.”

        GOP lawmakers proposed electronic slot machines more than a month ago as part of a school-funding plan proposed by Mr. Householder, a Republican from Glenford. He withdrew the slot proposal after Mr. Taft expressed strong opposition.


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