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A New Shell Game

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Ohio Roundtable: The Public Square - A New Shell Game

A New Shell Game

State lawmakers have pulled a new rabbit out of their hat.

There is a hole in the state budget so lawmakers and the Governor have busy trying to fill it.  One suggestion that became law was to expand the Ohio Lottery to a multi-state Powerball game. The House refused to bite on the idea. The Senate passed it. Then in a Conference Committee the idea was attached to a omnibus budget corrections bill which passed both Houses. Had the measure been a free standing bill it never would have passed. That's the first trick.

The second is far more devious. Back in 1987 we the people of Ohio passed a constitutional amendment requiring all lottery proceeds go for education. When the Powerball measure passed, the Legislature boldly - in the light of day - overwrote that Constitutional provision. They passed a bill to authorize a Powerball lottery with projected earnings of $41 million. Then they wrote an additional provision taking the very same amount - $41 million out of the Lottery proceeds for education and transferring those dollars to the general revenue fund. Sort of like the old shell game. They put the money in one place and pulled the very same dollars out to be spent somewhere else. So much for keeping their oath to uphold the Constitution of Ohio.

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