A short-cut to nowhere

Watch the news. The proposal in Delaware to start a state-run sports lottery is just another barrage from the “whatever works” philosophers of government revenue enhancement. A state might raise some money in this way but historically, a small percentage makes it to the good works touted to justify the initiative. In return, the institution that is tasked with protecting the innocent (and the foolish?) becomes their adversary in monetary responsibility.

The state can’t live within its means the way the rest of us should so they raise taxes and disguise some of them as entertainment. Legalized and state-run sports gambling will be especially appealing to younger men. Maybe it will be a “gateway drug” for future casino losers and off track betting derelicts. Isn’t government leadership inspiring!

While I disagree with legalized gambling, especially as a revenue stream, I am infuriated by state-sponsored gambling?lotteries, sports gambling, or whatever. It is malfeasance on a grand scale. For most states, the idea being considered in Delaware is just more of the same, since they already have a lottery. It is contrary to the good purposes of government at any level.

We Texans need to watch the news because our legislature has passed through half their 2009 session without passing any bills. This compresses the important work of the lawmakers into a fairly short time. The budget will come first and some legislators will cast desperately around for a bright, shiny revenue stream. “Tada! Here’s a selection of gambling solutions designed and guar-an-teed to raise boodles of money. There’s no downside and it’s worked perfectly up to now!”

Maybe a lot of unfortunate, even stupid ideas will look better as our leaders get tired, and frantic. Watch the news.

By the way, one of our former shiny solutions has failed and the local community may have to do without some of the promised benefits of its neighbor. The company that runs Lone Star Park of Grand Prairie filed bankruptcy in Delaware the first week of March. A week later, the company announced that its lease to operate the track will be auctioned in July. Press releases that say that the community will bear no negative impact are spinning so fast as to lack any credibility. I doubt Lone Star Park will close in the near future. Too many people have investments in its success, including its home town. That doesn’t mean that any of its promises from a decade ago will come to pass.

A lesson is that when our state opens a new door to questionable activity in hopes of finding free money, it just doesn’t turn out as well as we hoped. It’s as though we bought a car based on the salesman’s word without a warranty, test drive, or independent review.

You may recall that past efforts to introduce electronic gambling machines to Texas were promoted as an effort to keep the horse track from going bankrupt. Hear this: we need more, even more destructive, gambling formats to prop up the declining revenue stream from the past. If that doesn’t make you laugh, it should at least make you mad at the absurdity of what’s done in our names. By the way, I live in Grand Prairie and paid sales taxes to pay off the

LSP bonds so we could have such a “lucrative” revenue stream for all Texas. You’re welcome.

This is what you get, promises, failures, problems, and a foolish effort to throw good money after bad so the original promises might be fulfilled. Wow, we are so gullible. The last half of the 2009 session will be a big temptation for the gullible. The SBTC will be on hand and we will continue to resist efforts to expand gambling in Texas.

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