BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Part of our special Betting on a Lottery, CBS 42 Anchor Art Franklin was joined by lottery bill sponsor Sen. Jim McClendon and Alabama Citizens Action Program Director Joe Godfrey. The trio held a debate, more of a discussion really, on being for or against the lottery bill now sitting in the Alabama Senate.
You can watch the full interview above. Below are some highlights:
Will the Bill make it through the Senate?
McClendon states he will be surprised but looks forward to the lively discussion they will have in the Senate. He states that lottery bills “are quite complex” because they affect many parts of the state.
McClendon has issues with the bill “there is more money toward education. It does not raise much money for the state. It allows gambling places in Alabama to not pay taxes at all.
“They should pay their fair share,” McClendon said.
What do you think of a lottery in Alabama?
“Lottery doesn’t work. It’s a failed policy in everywhere it’s been attempted and tried,” Godfrey states. He argues that states like New Jersey, Illinois and California have the highest taxes in the nation because of the need to raise taxes of everyone even if they do not gamble or play lottery games.
Godfrey claims that states lose sales tax revenue, municipal taxes, county taxes, state education budgets go down and in response taxes on people must go up.
“Gambling does not work. It’s based on deception that they will get something for nothing,” said Godfrey.
Did you receive money like some politicians from the Poach Creek Indians?
McClendon refused to comment. “That’s a sticky wicket,” he said.
McClendon did say instead, “The legislature cannot create a lottery. The legislature can give the people the right the vote. The people in my district (Springville) want their right to vote.”
Godfrey argued, “They didn’t let people vote on the gas tax, but may let the people vote on the lottery. People don’t know what they are voting for. The playing field is not level. I don’t have money to get my message out to tell people about gambling while the pro-gambling people have the money to make these slick ads. One way or another we are voting on casinos.”