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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amendments include lottery killer

Posted By on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 4:26 PM

With the deadline at hand for filing proposed constitutional amendment, the garbage has been flowing in. A few samples:

* Sen. Jake Files has one of those lovely economic development Trojan horses. I'll boil it down for you. He'd allow pledging local sales tax to pay for private business development. This has been used in other states to build discount stores, hotels and sporting goods stores. Here's yet another Republican, to whom the words socialism and Obama are eternally linked, yet who wants to take our tax money to give directly to private business. Free enterprise? Not exactly.

* Another Republican has the perennial government killer, an amendment to make it all but impossible to raise taxes with a requirement for a 75 percent vote in both houses.

* Republican Anne Clemmer wants to meddle with the lottery by requiring a minimum scholarship payout — 35 percent of gross. This is something of a risky business when marketing expenses will be necessary to prevent an erosion in the wagering take over the years. If you want to kill the lottery, do it straight up, not by half-measures, such as this. And mightn't it be a little early to start tampering with a voter-approved initiative?

UPDATE: Thanks to ND75 for providing the figures. The Arkansas lottery currently pays out 22 percent for scholarships. Most of the money is paid back in winnings. Make it harder to win by reducing the payout and you'll kill the lottery. This is a poison pill amendment, ND 75 says, and I think he's right, plus right in thinking this is another regrettable bow by Clemmer, once a Rockefeller-style Republican, to the Family Council/extremist end of the Republican Party.


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