My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Senate Prez favors lottery privatization

Senate President Richard J. Codey seems to think that harnessing the power of the state's lottery to provide additional revenue to help shore up New Jersey's sagging finances might be a better idea than Gov. Jon S. Corzine's toll-hike plan.

Sen. Codey, D-Essex, has been actively pushing for the consideration of constitutional amendments that would allow the state to lease its lottery to a private operator, which some experts say could provide many billions of dollars in revenue.

Those amendments would require voter approval on the ballot in next year's general election.

"I think we need to keep all of our financial options open at the moment," said Sen. Codey, in a statement this week. "If we can get the ball rolling on this now, and get it on the ballot in November, then at least we will have the legal means to explore this option in the future."

Many residents would probably prefer something like that - coupled with gas or sales tax increases - than the governor's plan, which involves raising the tolls on some of the state's largest roadways by up to 800 percent by 2022.

The added revenue from those increases would go towards paying the debt service on a massive bond issue, which would be used to cut the state's $32 billion debt in half and replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, the main source of moneys for state transportation improvements.

Whatever the case, the state needs to do something quickly as its residents continue to struggle with one of the highest state debts in the nation, and the threat of that same transportation fund running out of funds in a few years' time.

Gov. Corzine was skeptical of the lottery plans making any real dent in the state's financial problems.

"We think we are operating the lottery in an extraordinarily efficient manner today," said Gov. Corzine to the Associated Press on Jan. 28

No comments: