by Max Brantley
I had an informal chat with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today. He mentioned to men what he had mentioned at an earlier public appearance.
Most expect the lottery to be approved. (McDaniel voted for it.) But no state agency has budgeted the significant sum that it will take to set up a lottery bureaucracy, buy machines, open offices, etc. No lottery money comes in until tickets are sold.
Can the state afford the setup cost? Will it be dealing with lottery vendors hoping to front the money to get the business? How many legislators will quaff how many bottles of wine and eat how many steaks while that dickering gets done?
Costs go beyond the obvious. Some state legal experts, probably in McDaniel's office, will be required for oversight. The Department of Finance and Administration will have to prepare for financial oversight. Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, creator of this wealth transfer from the poor to college-bound, has said he'll leave the little details to the legislature. That's reassuring.
Weird that this significant expenditure has been all but overlooked.