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The revenues and the consequences

Take a look at this sentence, from the Publicola last week: “For Washington State, gaming and liquor are two revenue sources begging to be expanded.”

The writer David Meinert surveys the many and massive state budget cuts that lie ahead, and the many lives that will be damaged by the result of those cuts, and casts around for new sources of revenue. Significant and quick bucks could be had, he argues, if the state loosened the rules and cut new deals on gambling and alcohol.

Some other states are doing it, he points out: “Minnesota is considering legalizing slot machines in bars statewide and the state estimates the expanded gambling would generate $630 million a year in new state revenue. In Pennsylvania, slots provided $616.5 million in revenue last year. With over 1.4 million more people in Washington State than Minnesota, and with a more aggressive licensing plan than Pennsylvania (where only 10 of 14 potential licenses are operating), Washington could see even more revenue.”

The bar to such ideas, he writes, is “shallow politics and antiquated morals.” But that hardly seems all. There are few free lunches, and prices will be paid eventually for easy bucks achieved today. (Centuries of pulp fiction got that right on the personal level.)

Horses Ass has entered the fray on this, making some of those cautionary points in more detail than we will here. But as the legislature prepares to convene, you can expect that temptations will rise.

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