The rule of law prevails for the Pennsylvania lottery

February 14, 2013

In the media appearance above, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announces that the contract drawn up by Governor Tom Corbett to privatize the state’s lottery management “contravenes the Pennsylvania Constitution and is not statutory authorized.” Translation: Pop- Bam- Take that, governor – You don’t have the power that you think you have.

The effort to privatize Pennsylvania lottery hits a roadblock

December 12, 2012

Nothing makes me happier than to see law as the weapon of choice in a fight between public officials. There is a big battle underway in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over the efforts of the governor to privatize the lottery, currently a big source of revenue for the state’s senior citizen programs. I wrote last week about Pennsylvania’s sweetheart lottery privatization deal:

Pennsylvania’s sweetheart lottery privatization deal

December 7, 2012

There is a lot of darkness and a web of connections around the efforts to privatize the Pennsylvania state lottery. Tom Corbett, the governor of Pennsylvania, is attempting to force through the privatization before the legislature comes back into session in January and has a chance to review the terms of the 20-30 year deal. Democrats are howling.

Is privatization waning?

January 6, 2014

For thirty years there has been an ideological pressure for the U.S. government to sell public infrastructure, assets and services. Prisons and schools have been privatized. Toll roads, like the Indiana Toll Road, have been sold to private consortiums. Many of these assets were created by earlier generations who regarded their obligations to citizens as important. Now there is a bigger commitment to an economic philosophy that insists government is the most expensive and least efficient provider of services. Somewhere along the line, with little economic or financial validation, privatization was accepted as the best approach for public assets.

A big week for state-sponsored online gambling

February 25, 2013

“Around the world, people are shifting their gambling from traditional slot machines and tables to online and mobile devices,”  David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (via Philadelphia Inquirer)

Pennsylvania bets on $70 billion in cash flows

January 15, 2013

What is happening with Puerto Rico employment?

August 10, 2012

Some odd employment data is coming out of Puerto Rico. Although the population of the island has increased (see chart above), labor participation and the number of people employed have declined steadily, as seen below.

MuniLand Snaps: July 26

July 26, 2012

Watch the latest video at
Peter Hayes of BlackRock gives a good overview of the current state of muniland (Hattip Learnbonds).

MuniLand Snaps: April 4

April 4, 2012

Watch Texas Justice on PBS. See more from Need to Know.

There are surprises everywhere in muniland. Here is one I learned about from PBS: Despite leading the nation in executions, “Texas has been a pioneer in finding alternatives to prison – as a way to control costs and to prevent convicts from returning.”

MuniLand Snaps: March 8, 2012

March 8, 2012

A woman wins a million dollars in the state lottery but still feels she’s justified to keep receiving food stamps. A local reporter tracks her down and confronts her. Although this discrepancy was extreme, I expect we will see government placing a higher burden of proof on welfare recipients to demonstrate need as state and local budgets tighten and the federal dollars that flow to them shrink. There will be less to go around, and the threshold for receiving welfare benefits will be higher.