A necessary pause on Corbett’s lottery plan

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Governor Tom Corbett’s effort to hire a British firm to manage the Pennsylvania Lottery has been stalled for good reason.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has rejected the lottery contract with Camelot Global Services of which she says elements are either illegal or unconstitutional. The law allows an appeal of the attorney general to Commonwealth Court. It is likely that if Corbett appeals the determination that the case would end up in Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
State Treasurer Rob McCord has also criticized the governor’s lottery management effort at a Senate budget hearing.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t privatize things, but we can’t just use the word privatization like pixie dust and think maybe…(it will) look like a win before campaign season and everything will be fine. This is real money for senior citizens we’re talking about. And we can do better.”
McCord is right to question the contract awarding process which he noted is only a single bid to privatize lottery management. He also raised the important point that the contract’s 20-year length is also troublesome.
The fact that Corbett is Republican and Kane and McCord are Democrats does not make their criticism is politically motivated. Kane and McCord are raising legitimate concerns. A pause seems necessary on the governor’s plan.
As the governor touts the program needs to make clear what the long-term benefits are to average Pennsylvania taxpayers to privatization of the lottery as well as plans to privatize liquor sales in the state. Does the state lottery system as well as the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board really need privatization or would modernization be better? These are questions the state’s lawmakers should seriously consider.
In the end Corbett may be able to get the Republican-controlled Legislature to go along with his plans but for now questions need to be answered and the proposal and process needs closer examination.
(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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