'Betting' on New York's recovery
Nov 29, 2012 | 12843 views | 0 0 comments | 483 483 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Our New York State lottery is primarily dedicated to education funding, as stated by legislation. A good question might be whether, in unique circumstances, a lottery can be used for emergency purposes.

For years, critics have warned that lottery money can be re-directed away from public education by the messiness of bureaucracy. But what if we purposely redirected lottery funding? Could we use a state lottery one time to help hurricane victims?

It would be difficult to redirect this kind of money because it is locked into law as to how it gets spent. But if we were to be able to lock in a one-time use for a unique circumstance, it might not only be a good idea, but widely acceptable.

If a lottery brings in about $6 to $8 million in one drawing, could we have a separate lottery where the money goes directly to distressed neighborhoods and homeowners who have been devastated by an Act of God, such as a hurricane?

It’s a question that most people within government know is very sensitive. The whole idea of the lottery is to fund education, but with so many homeowners in trouble, our sales tax is going to bring in less money. And how does the state expect property owners to pay property tax on homes that are not there anymore?

A lottery that pumps much needed funding into Staten Island, Breezy Point, and parts of Long Island would do wonders for retailers as well. It could be a stimulus package that actually stimulates the economy. The good part is that with an added lottery for just this purpose, the state might be less tempted to take funding from other already funded areas. Many of the homeowners affected have insurance, but what they are seeing now is that even with insurance, waiting is a real problem. If the state can be creative here, and pump more money in for immediate relief, homeowners could ride out the time for their insurance money to come in.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does some of this, but why not seek out a way to cover people a little more? In the meantime, walls can be put up, new roofs built, furniture replaced. The city and state have done a great job, but we should be open to being creative.

Thoughts on the Rockefeller Treet

I could not help but think as the Rockefeller Center tree was flat-bedded from Flanders, New Jersey, that this year it may have been better to use a downed tree from Long Island.

Sure, it would have been much smaller than the usual size, but it would have made a statement to the tourists hovering around Radio City that this storm was serious business and this is a tree that went through it. It would have been a good tribute to the families that are still without water and utilities while others shop in Midtown.

Some stories described how the tree that was used also survived the storm. Sure it did - every tree that was still standing “survived” the storm. We should have used one that did not make it.

Same-day Registration Would Be Chaos

Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is trying to do away with same-day voter registration. Say what you might about Walker and his bold ideas, but if voters cannot get it together all year long to register to vote, should we really bend over backwards on Election Day to get them set up?

If they do not make registering a priority, maybe they have to sit an election out. The problem with same day registering is that it is not for the voters’ benefit, it benefits campaign consultants. They get to drag people to the polls in some expensive “get out the vote” charade, and before anyone can notice that there might be irregularities, an election is over.

If we do not count votes correctly, regardless of party and results, we can lose the whole point of a participatory democracy. For the sake of results and organization, we should not be registering voters the same day that we are counting votes.

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