ST. PAUL (AP) -- Senate Minority Leader Dick Day said he will introduce legislation for a state-sponsored casino that would help fund roads, bridges and schools.
Day, R-Owatonna, said Wednesday he hopes to win support from legislators who believe Gov. Jesse Ventura's administration is underfunding transportation and education.
He said the legislation would allow private interests to build the casino, which would operate under the auspices of the Minnesota State Lottery. Eighty to 90 percent of the profits would be handed over to the state.
"Basically, if we could get it passed, it would be $100 million," Day said of the state's estimated annual income from the casino. "We're talking about using 40 percent or 60 percent for transportation. The rest would be education."
Day is a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and has advocated increased funding for highway construction. Ventura proposed a budget Tuesday for the next two fiscal years that some legislators said shortchanged K-12 education, higher education and the state's transportation system.
Day, who once proposed a state-sponsored casino to fund a baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins, said this time he wants to use the casino plan to a more politically popular end. "This time, no stadium," he said.
Ventura spokesman John Wodele said the governor "has been very skeptical of new gambling, but he has never closed the door on it. He has always said he would not turn away any new proposal; he would consider it."
Currently, only American Indian casinos on Indian reservations are allowed in the state.
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