2008-07-11 / Editorial/Opinion

A Sucker's Bet For NYS Education

As Yogi Berra once famously said, "you could look it up." The New York State Constitution says that proceeds from lottery games must be dedicated to education, and only to education. It says that the proceeds "shall be applied exclusively to or in aid of support of education." Makes one wonder why Governor David Paterson and the state legislature are about to give three out of every four dollars taken in by the proposed video lottery machines in the Catskill Mountains to casino developers. Over the life of the 40-year contract the state will soon sign with the developers, drawn without any public notice or bidding, that could mean billions of dollars for the developers and minus billions of dollars for state education. That is a sucker's bet for New York State taxpayers and their schools. Do you see politics rearing its ugly head here? You would be right. Builder Louis Capelli recently hired lobbyist Patricia Lynch to deal with the legislature. Lynch is an exaide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. In addition, Capelli and Donald Trump, who reportedly will soon become Capelli's partner in the venture, held a rather ostentatious fundraiser for then-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno at Trump's Florida mansion. Are you beginning to get the picture? The bill to allow the corrupt and illegal deal sits on the governor's desk as we write this. If he signs it, that will be one more sign that Paterson is just another old-line Democratic hack who is more concerned with political support and payback than he is with the state's students.

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