08/07/2002 11:00PM

Prairie Meadows to get big refund


The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that Prairie Meadows and two greyhound tracks in the state have been taxed unfairly, qualifying Prairie Meadows for a $50 million state tax refund, track officials estimate.

The court had earlier ruled that the state could not tax riverboat casinos and racetracks at different rates. Riverboat casinos are taxed at 20 percent, while Prairie and two greyhound tracks are taxed at 32 percent. That rate was scheduled to increase to 36 percent by 2004.

Prairie Meadows, which operates a lucrative slot machine casino, is owned by Polk County, which leases the track to the Racing Association of Central Iowa. Track officials have said they believe the tax refund amounts to $54 million, but that they would be willing to negotiate a settlement with the state.

The Iowa attorney general, Tom Miller, is reportedly considering an appeal of the ruling to the United States Supreme Court.