FILE PHOTO --  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio presents the Fiscal Year 2018 Preliminary Budget at New York City Hall in New York, U.S., January 24, 2017.  REUTERS/Sam Hodgson/The New York Times/Pool/File Photo De Blasio, a Democrat who took office in January 2014, is up for reelection in November. Held at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, home to numerous American musical legends including Billie Holiday, the program featured at least 45 minutes of introductory remarks that were a mostly a love story to the city's diversity. "So many people in this city are afraid they cannot stay in the city that they love," because of high costs, de Blasio said. De Blasio cited a long list of what he considers some of his biggest accomplishments, including the implementation of neighborhood policing and the highest ever four-year high-school graduation rate of 72.6 percent in 2016. He said residents would hear in coming weeks more details of forthcoming proposals about homelessness, opioid addiction and the creation of more higher paying jobs, which he called the "next frontline." He said the city would strive to create 100,000 more permanent good jobs that pay at least $50,000 a year. Last week, de Blasio released information about other proposals that he touched on in his speech, including ways to help seniors and low-income people afford housing by adding new units and providing more rental assistance. He said previously that he would seek to add 10,000 apartments for households earning less than $40,000 a year, half of which would be reserved for seniors, while another 500 would be for veterans. De Blasio referenced another element of the plan announced last week to help more than 25,000 older residents with rent of up to $1,300 a month through the city's "mansion tax," which he has proposed before. "You will hear people say it cannot be done," de Blasio said of the tax.

There has been little mention of Scott in recent years, until last year when it was learned that his sister was dumping millions into supporting the York County casino campaign. Proponents needed 61,123 valid signatures to get on the November 2016 ballot and submitted about 91,000 signatures in February 2016. But the following month Secretary of State Dunlap announced that only 35,518, or less than half, of the signatures were valid. The campaign also was criticized for allegedly using misleading tactics in collecting signatures and was accused of failing to pay hired petition circulators . If enough signatures are verified in the latest citizen initiative effort, the Legislature will then review the measure and likely send it out for statewide referendum in either June or November 2017. Dunlap said Friday that his office will examine the newly submitted signatures as well as the signatures from the previous campaign to make sure there are no duplicates and that all are from registered voters. Also, no signature can be more than a year old when the initiative is approved, he said. The operators of Hollywood Casino, Hotel and Raceway reacted to the second filing of the signatures by saying Scott and the petitioners have a lot of work to do. The proponents still need to have signatures validated and go through the referendum process. Not a done deal by any means, said Dan Cashman, spokesman for Penn National Gamings Hollywood Casino, in an email Friday. Baldacci said he had no ill will against Scott for his role in bringing gambling to Maine.

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The Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane paid a privilege fee to be the sole gaming facility in the south-central Kansas gaming zone, made up of Sedgwick and Sumner counties. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion last spring that legislation allowing Sedgwick County residents to vote again on slots at the park would breach the Kansas Lotterys contract with Kansas Star Casino. Opponents say breaking the contract would open the floodgates for expensive lawsuits. What customers demand Rep. Larry Hibbard, R-Toronto, said the bills main goal is to reopen several closed horse and dog tracks and create numerous jobs in the state. We will be providing much needed revenue to the state treasury, Hibbard said. Art Hall of the Greater Kansas Racing Alliance said it wouldnt take any economic development incentives to restore racetracks. But he said slots are needed to make the tracks profitable. Technology and time have changed the fundamental economics of racing, he said. Its got to be supplemented by the revenue streams from electronic gaming machines. The mix of entertainment is what customers demand. Scott Beeler, an attorney for the Greater Kansas Racing Alliance, said the Legislature should not feel bound by Schmidts opinion last year.

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