Kane made the right call
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013
On Feb. 14, Attorney General Kathleen Kane rejected Gov. Tom Corbett's attempt to sell the Pennsylvania Lottery. In rebuffing the proposed lottery contract with British-based Camelot Global Services, Kane exercised her office's statutory authority to review all state contracts on constitutionality, legality and form.
The AG determined that the contract infringes on the Legislature's power to make policy decisions regarding the lottery, allows for keno games in violation of the lottery act and usurps the authority of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Her reasoning is clear, concise and — in my opinion — correct. There is absolutely no valid reason to sell the lottery.
The contract offer promises a growth rate of 3 percent to 4 percent annually over the next 10 years. But here's what the governor doesn't care to tell you: We're exceeding that growth already without privatization. Lottery sales grew a record 8.5 percent last year, increasing profits by more than $100 million under the current public system.
Every penny of that profit goes to programs benefiting our seniors. Every dollar funneled to a private company is pulled out of those programs. So, in effect, the commonwealth would be paying a British company to decrease lottery revenues.
The lottery is a successful and lucrative resource — owned by the people of Pennsylvania. If Gov. Corbett thought that privatizing the Pennsylvania Lottery was a worthy goal, he should have made his case to the people of Pennsylvania. It's clear from his actions that the governor did not want to follow constitutionally mandated procedure, let alone allow a full public vetting of his attempted sale.
Kane said, “It is important that my office perform its role in the system of checks and balances that our government desperately needs and that our citizens deserve.”
I couldn't agree more.
The writer, a Democrat, is a state representative for 52nd District.
Why is government in the gambling business in the first place? It wasn't that long ago Mob-controlled numbers rackets (aka lotteries) were prosecuted under anti-vice laws. Oh wait, I forgot. <quivering lip on>It's for the Seniors.<quivering lip off> It doesn't matter that they and our poorest citizens are the ones who disproportionately buy lottery tickets. Wouldn't it be far more beneficial to Seniors and the poor to do away with the legalized numbers racket entirely and allow them to spend their money on necessities, rather than the pipe dream of riches just another ticket away?
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