Mike Beason’s letter on the Duke University professor’s study of state lotteries (The Daily Citizen, Sunday, Jan. 6) is interesting, but omits some big points.
Clotfelter only studied lotteries in states like Georgia and Tennessee that had never had any legalized gambling before the lotteries were begun. This overlooks states like Nevada, New Jersey, Florida and Alabama that have had a far greater experience with gambling as a revenue source in lieu of alternative tax sources (income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc.) Naturally, in those states you would expect to find that a disproportionate share of the total dollars spent on lottery tickets would come from the poor. After all, the person making $100,000 a year doesn’t need a lottery do they?
On the subject of pari-mutuel betting on horses, it only generates a small amount of revenue in the states that have it and is no more likely to attract organized crime than any other type of state-sanctioned gambling. And with Georgia having the sixth largest prison population in the nation, I’d say we already know crime pretty well.
The bottom line here is that Georgia’s tax structure is flawed at every level of government and can be fixed only by a total top-to-bottom overhaul that takes the burden off of property owners and people who have school-age children.
Charles M. Hyder