Today in the Texas House of Representatives the state lottery was voted out of existence. People were surprised that there were so many, on both sides of the aisle, who were opposed to Texas running its own numbers game. Apparently, from what I read here in the AustinAmerican-Statesman, there were enough state reps on both sides of the aisle who were morally and ethically against state-sanctioned gambling.
“After voting against the bill, state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, tweeted: “Th’s was nothing more than a tax on the poor.’”
A tax on the poor that sends a billion dollars a year into the state’s education coffers.
But the House voted 65-81 against a sunset bill to continue the state lottery commission for another 12 years and now one wonders what is going to happen to all the funds presently in the lottery treasure chest what with no commission to oversee its distribution.
But that isn’t the half of it. When the state instituted the lottery, with the stipulation that the proceeds go to public education – a win-win – state budgeting for education was pared back to take into account the fact that another source of funding was now in place.
A zero-sum game.
So now, one can argue that the state is now under-funding education by a billion dollars a year, and has not made a move to rectify that gap by shoveling more state funds into education. And the way things are going in Texas, I wouldn’t expect the state legislature to make good on the gap anytime soon.
Oh, and also included in the bill is the fact that no charitable organizations can raise funds with bingo games at churches and veterans halls. Not anymore.
But knowing Texas, they’ll probably fix that one with another vote as we go forward.
Millions for churches, but not one penny for education.