Groups Challenge Ky. Budget Fund Transfers

     FRANKFORT, Ky. (CN) – Kentucky officials wrongfully transferred fees collected under the Charitable Gaming Act to the general state budget fund, forcing nonprofit groups to pay higher annual fees to hold raffles, bingo games, fundraisers and other gaming activities, a class action claims in Franklin County Court.

     Soccer enthusiasts teamed up with churches to filed suit on behalf of all organizations that pay annual fees to the Office of Charitable Gaming. The amount is recalculated every two years to collect only what is needed to operate the office.
     But an executive order in 2008, approved by Gov. Steven Beshear, tried to eliminate an expected general fund budget short-fall by curbing spending and transferring money from other state budget accounts, including the Office of Charitable Gaming.
     The plaintiffs say the state took nearly $6 million of their charitable gaming fees, which required the Office of Charitable Gaming to bump up the annual fee to cover costs. They say state officials violated the law by transferring their fees.
     “Under separation of power doctrine, the Governor has no constitutional authority to exercise legislative power by ordering the transfer of OCG funds contrary to statutory authority,” plaintiffs claim.
     They demand an injunction preventing the defendants from transferring any more money or raising the annual licensing fee.

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