From the Palm Beach Post-
TALLAHASSEE — As much as $700 million in budget cuts for public schools might be averted if the state can reach a deal allowing - and taxing - slot-machine gambling run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday.Counting on revenue from gambling to enhance or pay for education has been tried once before in this state. It is called the Florida lottery, which was established by a statewide referendum in 1986. While the lottery has funded programs like Bright futures, its hardly been the silver bullet solution some proposed it would be for education financing.
"My hope is that we don't have to do any cuts in education ... but rather additions," Crist said after a Governor's Mansion meeting with teachers about nutrition and exercise programs at schools.
But those close to the deal, including a lawyer representing the Seminoles, say that the compact being negotiated would net the state only a fraction of what would be needed for public schools. The amount is closer to $50 million, attorney Barry Richard said.
Senate Democratic leader Steve Geller, a gambling law expert, said the state could collect about $200 million after the tribe's full-fledged casinos have been up and running for a few years.
"But I never heard any number anywhere like $700 million," Geller said.
Crist's office has been negotiating with the tribe since he took office, following the introduction of voter-approved slot-machine gambling at horse tracks, dog tracks and jai alai frontons in Broward County.
Indian tribes generally have been permitted to offer the same types of gambling on their reservations that other entities within the state are allowed to offer.
I don't have a problem on the use of gambling proceeds to finance education. The government taxes other 'sins', like tobacco and alcohol to raise revenue, so what is the difference? Still as history as shown us, it's a poor bet to think this revenue will improve education in the Sunshine State.
Linked to- Bright & Early, The World According to Carl,