Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 16, 2007

Senators discuss proposal to eliminate gaming loss limits to fund new “Smart Start” scholarship

Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph) presented SB430 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday, Feb. 12. The act would set up the Smart Start Scholarship Program to provide grants for education expenses for students attending post-secondary education for up to two years. To provide funds for the program, Shields recommended repealing the maximum loss limit of $500 per individual player per gambling excursion at the state’s gambling boats and imposing an educational allowance of 1 percent on adjusted gross receipts in excess of $30 million for gaming licensees. The proposal also caps the number of gambling boat licenses in the state at 13.

Eligible students would have to have attended a Missouri high school for three consecutive years immediately prior to graduating from the institution, and must apply for grants under the act within two calendar years of graduation. Students at public, private and proprietary schools would be eligible to apply for the grants. Award amounts would be determined by the number of applicants and dollars available for the fund in a given year.

Shields told the committee that the changes would generate an estimated $85 million per year, and that approximately 67,000 students could qualify for the grants. It is unclear how many would actually apply for it, and he noted that only about half of the students eligible to apply for A+ scholarships at community colleges actually do so. He estimated the program would probably provide about $1,000 per student per year for two years.

The committee took no action on the bill.

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