Wednesday, December 23, 2009

They are out of ideas.

HARRISBURG, PA - Gov. Rendell yesterday upped the ante in his bid to balance the state budget, saying that without a table-games bill he would have to close the State Museum of Pennsylvania and some state parks in addition to laying off at least 1,000 more government employees.
Rendell last week said layoffs of 1,000 more state workers were "imminent" if no gambling bill was on his desk by January 8.
The bill - the final unresolved part of the state budget the governor signed in October after a 101-day impasse - would bring in $250 million in license fees and taxes that Rendell said is necessary to keep the government running.
When government runs out of ways to find revenue they invariably turn to gambling. Something that was so abhorrent when times were good now suddenly becomes a panacea. Strange how desperation works, eh?
So now the governor has held the threat of closing valuable state resources over the heads of the citizens if he doesn't get his gambling money. Interestingly, he probably has no use for either the state parks or the State Museum, so it's no skin off his nose. The people affected will be school-aged children and people who like to hang out outdoors for free, and I suspect he figures that groups interested in keeping those places open will pressure their state legislators to cave in to the governor's strong-arm tactics and pass a bill that they would otherwise oppose.
Something is either a good idea or a bad idea, and no amount of monetary gain will make it necessary, unless of course the government uses it as a pawn in their quest for money. That's why I figure the next two public sources of funds will be drugs and prostitution.
States that have already instituted lotteries, casino gambling or high taxes (New Jersey) have apparently run out of ideas for ways to raise funds. God forbid they cut their own salaries or some other state-funded perc they've become accustomed to. They have reached a limit in leaning on the populace for tax money, so one would figure the last resort would be something they wouldn't otherwise approve - legalized marijuana or legalized prostitution.
After all, Nevada has dealt with prostitution for decades, and along with their gambling mecca, they seem to be doing quite well for themselves. Once the casinos are up and running and the state is still in an economic shortfall (inevitable) the next previously social stigma to bring in funds will suddenly become acceptable to the legislators who would have opposed it in better economic times.
I can only hope that when it happens I am young enough to enjoy it.

1 comment:

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