Pennsylvania government is attempting to sucker more and more people into gambling by making it possible to buy Lottery tickets via the Internet.

That’s bad.

It gets worse.

The just-enacted budget tax/revenue bill —the one that should have been passed last June, according to the Constitution — now allows gambling dens (Oops; “casinos;” and it isn’t “gambling,” it is “gaming,” of course) to offer their games over the Internet.

Government is creating more gambling addicts and habitual gambling overspenders. Most of us can gamble, or not. But too many of us, when enticed repeatedly, succumb to the lure of “free” money and become addicts.

Government admits this. Nearly every advertisement for the Lottery and for the state-sanctioned gambling dens includes a message to the effect of, “If you need help in controlling the gambling addiction that the Pennsylvania Legislature helped you to fuel, call....”

Why would government condone the creation of more gambling addicts?

Back in June, the Legislature did pass half of the budget: The spending half.

And as happens year after year, the budget calls for spending even more money this year than was spent last year. How much? Nobody knows. Pennsylvania has a boatload of hidden funds, programs, etc., as was uncovered this year by state Rep. Cris Dush of Jefferson County and his House colleagues. Heck, the Legislature itself sits on nearly $100 million it does not need.

The “general fund” calls for spending $32 billion. Add in the other funds and the spending balloons to just this side of $80 billion.

Coincidentally, Pennsylvania is also in hock for another $80 billion or so,

If Pennsylvania increased its taxes enough to cover its spending, taxes would need to more than double.

“Horrors! They will unelect us!”

So, instead, the Legislature is creating more gambling addicts by trying to sucker us into spending more money on gambling.

Don’t.

We should spend recreationally on gambling, no more than we can afford to lose by throwing dollar bills down into the nearest sewer grating.

We ought to be boiling mad at our legislators, nice guys though they are personally.

They failed to do their jobs, which are twofold:

• Cast individual votes for responsible government, balanced budgets and reduced spending to conform to available revenues.

• Persuade other legislators to join them in such responsible voting.

Instead, we are to pay for government by gambling away our hard-earned money.

Arrgh.

— Denny Bonavita

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