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Casino Execs Will Meet With Branstad On Tax Hike

February 11, 2011, 6:04 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Casino Execs Will Meet With Branstad On Tax Hike
LYON COUNTY, IA - Executives with the new casino on the Iowa-South Dakota border are calling a proposed tax increase on casinos a job killer. It's a proposal straight from the Iowa governor himself. 

Governor Terry Branstad wants to increase taxes on casinos so he can cut taxes for large corporations.
But, casino developers say it would ruin their industry and wipe out the jobs it brings to the table. So, they're meeting with him next week to explain the impact of the tax hike.

Construction is cruising on Iowa's newest casino in Lyon county, Iowa. That's why executives with Kehl Management are surprised to hear Iowa's new governor wants to raise their taxes.

"Nobody saw it coming. The governor actually called a couple weeks before and wished us a Merry Christmas, and this came out several weeks later and nobody knew about it, had no inkling this proposal was coming from," Kehl Management C.E.O. Dan Kehl said.

Governor Terry Branstad wants to increase taxes on casinos from 22 percent to 36 percent. Kehl officials say it would be a job killer because it would force them to stop operations. But, since it's not set in stone yet Kehl hopes to help Branstad see the potential impact. 

"We want to help the governor understand exactly what this proposal means and how it would decimate over five thousand jobs in Iowa," Kehl said.

Sinking Iowa's new casino before it even opens.

"Hopefully he'll hear our message and understand it and change his mind on that tax proposal," Kehl said.

Kehl is optimistic that the plan won't pass because he says there isn't much support for the governor's plan among lawmakers who campaigned this past year on no new taxes.

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