Dare I say that Governor Perdue may be on to something? According to a recent article on WRAL.com, a good read by the way, the Governor is open to privatizing parts of the ABC System and legalizing video poker for the purpose of increasing tax revenue and allowing government to focus on its core missions of economic development and education. In principle, Governor Perdue is on the right track. State government should focus on its job of economic development and education; maintaining transportation infrastructure is also a priority.
Noting the contradictory stance the General Assembly has taken by allowing a state run lottery while banning privately run gambling in the form of video poker and sweepstakes games is an admission that the state’s policy on gambling is hypocritical. Perdue, having cast the tie-breaking vote on the state lottery in 2005, knows that to prevent being a hypocrite herself she must support private gambling ventures – though tightly regulated. Allowing video poker and sweepstakes games in addition to the state lottery, plus the tax revenues that would roll in as a result of taxing the games, would allow the state to focus on its core mission and eliminate the contradiction.
Privatization of the ABC would certainly be a hot issue if it ever received the full attention of the legislature and the public. With an outside evaluation of the system on its way, privatization of the archaic system may yet make its way into the limelight. If the General Assembly were to vote to privatize liquor sales, the tax revenue from such would likely rise dramatically. Currently, the ABC System attempts to limit liquor sales, thus depressing revenue. Proliferation of liquor availability would likely lead to even more increased sales volume and, therefore, more tax revenue. Thus, the state would have sufficient revenue to focus on economic development, transportation infrastructure and education.
While these ideas mentioned by Governor Perdue are worthy of consideration, privatizing liquor sales and allowing video poker and sweepstakes games are by no means an exhaustive list of ideas to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of state government and cover revenue gaps. Furthermore, Governor Perdue may not agree with what conservatives consider to be the best economic development strategies. However, the Governor should be given credit for understanding that our state government as it currently exists is unsustainable and in need of a shakeup.