Kentucky Bill Would Fund Pensions With Expanded Gambling
The Family Foundation said Wednesday that it opposed a State House bill that would fund the state pension through expanded gambling. The bill, a committee substitute to HB 416, would fund the state’s contribution to the pension plan for state workers through online Lottery wagering, Keno, and Instant Racing. It was passed out of committee Tuesday night in a party line vote.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo, sponsor of the bill, was questioned by other committee members about the possibility that the Supreme Court could rule against Instant Racing in a case now before it, depriving the state of the new revenue stream. The Speaker responded that he was confident the High Court would approve the controversial form of gambling.
“We have a great deal of respect for the Speaker’s capabilities,” said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, “but we were not aware that one of them was the ability to tell the future.” Cothran questioned the wisdom of basing the funding of the state’s pension plan on a form of gambling that might be ruled illegal in a matter of months.
“What we are doing is taking the pension fund and putting it all on the number 416 and hoping that that’s where the little ball ends up. This is not a responsible way to engage in public policy. It’s certainly not a reasonable way to fund the state pension system.”
Cothran noted that this proposal is only the latest in a long and ever-changing string of reasons that have been put forth in favor of expanded gambling. “The last time we were told that we needed expanded gambling to save the horse industry. Now we’re supposed to expand it despite the fact that it would hurt the horse industry.” CitizenLink