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Jun 26, 2007 - 11:15 AM

Gambling with the Lottery

by Carmen Balber
Talk continues as this year's budget deadlock grows longer, and the debate includes the governor's desire to hand the state lottery system over to a private company for 40 years.

The issue is rife with questions: Would schools lose money on such a deal? Is a private company necessary to expand sales? Should we balance the budget on the backs of the lower income Californians who currently buy more lottery tickets but can least afford it? Would the billions proponents promise materialize, or would the state be giving up more revenue than it gets? Is it a good idea to privatize yet another government project?

Whatever the answers, Arnold has no objectivity in the debate. One of the nation's largest private lottery firms, Gtech, gave $15,000 to his 2006 inauguration, and another $25,000 in 2005. Add that to the $13.8 million the financial services industry has given the gov, and their advocacy of privatization, and Arnold has to withdraw the proposal to clear the air.

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