Greetings WAC community,
Let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5
This past week, Andrew Graham in WyoFile wrote an article (http://www.wyofile.com/lottery) about the lottery created in Wyoming by the state legislature in 2013. The revenues for the state are little while the executives are drawing greater paychecks. The Wyoming Association of Churches opposed the lottery on the basis it would hurt the vulnerable seeking a quick easy way out of poverty, more than recreation as lottery proponents called it. Gambling is addictive for some and I have personally observed the consequences when that happens. That’s a story that also needs to be told.
The lottery bill passed and the Governor failed to veto it, for two main reasons. One is that the liquor stores and bars that would be selling the lottery tickets and getting a commission on their sales have more influence than churches. Secondly, it was touted as a way to bring in huge revenues. We knew that the second argument was false based on data from other low population states that had a lottery, and we told the legislators those numbers. But I was one lobbyist for us against a swarm of lobbyists for the proponents. I know many of our church folks spoke up, but we were far outnumbered by bar and liquor store owners. We had been able to stop it in previous years and came close in 2013, but legislators and the governor failed to listen.
I do not like to say, “I told you so,” but that is what came to mind when I read the WyoFile story. The disadvantages of the lottery far outweigh the benefits. The state does need to diversify its revenues in addition to opening up the “rainy day accounts” for our schools, prevention programs and community services. But the lottery has not and will not be the answer. A substantial increase of taxes on tobacco and alcohol would be one source of funds, when Wyoming has one of the lowest in the nation because the tobacco and liquor industries have more influence over our legislators than we do. Substantial increases in tobacco and alcohol taxes have preventive advantages as well. Contact your legislators now and let them know that they need to listen to the whole community and not just the local liquor stores and bar owners and others with a strong lobbying influence in Wyoming.
Share the news about Understanding the Muslim Faith, September 16th in Casper. Click here for a bulletin insert. We can better help our Muslim neighbors if we have a better understanding about them.
To register or more information go to: https://www.wyointerfaith.org/muslim-faith-dialogue
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.