By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 6, 2007 2:45PM
Chicagoist has been following the potential sale or lease of the state lottery since the New York Times beat our local papers to the punch, reporting on Blagojevich's plan. Besides smaller payouts, (the State's Request for Qualifications states that private operators would have to pay out at least half of the cash collected in winnings), the most shocking statement so far has come from John Filan, the governor's chief operating officer, who told CBS 2 that while a private operator wouldn't be allowed to market more heavily to "ethnic minorities", profit is still top priority.
After meeting with James Meeks last year and convincing him not run against him in exchange for better education funding, Blagojevich is desperate to do something that will demonstrate his "commitment" to help out with education funding in the state, without raising taxes. That effectively takes the tax swap off the table as a solution, ironically part of a bill that Meeks introduced.
We're skeptical of this plan, and doubt that any amount of grandstanding and fast-talking on Blago's part will change our mind. While none of us likes to pay more in taxes, we'd be willing to take the hit if we got a tangible benefit, especially in funding the state's education system better. Taking the big lump-sum payment up front is a recipe for disaster, especially with politicians that are just licking their chops waiting to dig into that big $10 billion pie at the end of a lease.