Following up on a plan he says would generate an immediate $2 billion to $3 billion through the licensing of private slot parlors, Treasurer Tim Cahill on Wednesday said the state could capture an additional $1 billion by leasing the state lottery to a private operator.The fact of the matter is as much as I'd love to do anything to keep the lotto out of his hands, privatizing the lotto is just a bad idea. He's run the thing into the ground, eating up huge sums of money to revamp the HQ so newly minted millionaires can go watch flat screen TVs and get their checks in the lap of luxury, but that's preferable to a privately run lottery. Really, why else would we allow something to be privatized unless we a) wanted to slash employee benefits and b) wanted to allow the state lottery to do things we weren't comfortable with - like make the games more addictive and costly to those who are addicted.
It really gets worse, though. We need more quotes, so Cahill can hang himself:
Without privatization, he said, the added competition from the slot parlors he envisions could set up the lottery for a protracted decline in revenue.So, buried in all his plans, he's finally recognizing that - yes - the slot parlors he proposes would eat the hell out of the state lottery. Duh. My question: why didn't he account for that in his $244 million number. The state lottery provides almost a billion dollars to cities and towns a year. The slot parlors would give up to $244 million to the entire state in a year - according to Cahill's inflated and bogus numbers. If that $244 million was redirected from the local economy and state lottery, it's not only not new money, but it's money that's sucked away from cities and towns and put into the coffers of state government. In other words, its money lost in the laundry that cities and towns should have but will never actually get back.
But he's sounding an awful lot like a Republican, the more he speaks.
We don’t run liquor. We don’t run the tobacco industry. We tax it and we regulate it,” he said. “We should consider that same model for the lottery.”Just privatize it and everything will work out! Privatizing is always the answer. That's why we have such great health care in this country!
It gets worse:
Cahill said that without considering privatization, the Lottery could wind up like General Motors, “where you have a business model that you know doesn’t work.”Call it GM and you know it should be privatized. Because GM isn't a private company, right? GM and the state lottery really are so much alike. For starters, the Massachusetts state lottery system does so poorly! I mean, it only sucks in more money per capita than any other state lottery in the entire country. What an unsuccessful piece of crap!
My question: if the State Lottery is doing so poorly, why doesn't Cahill resign? He oversees it, after all. It's his responsibility as Treasurer of this great Commonwealth. If bleeding dry more Massachusetts citizens, per capita, than any other state in this country isn't good enough for him, perhaps he should admit his failure and start drafting his letter of resignation.
Meanwhile, Cahill says the responsible tax - Governor Patrick's 19 cent gas tax - is too high, even if many communities are saying its too low. $2 a week for the average driver, a little over a hundred a year, is unaffordable - but taxing the poor extra thousands a year at the casino... no problem.
I hope he mounts a challenge against Deval Patrick in 2010 - and I hope he gets crushed. But the important part about that mounted challenge is he'll be out of State Government and Massachusetts will be a better state for it. Run, Cahill, Run!