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What a stupid, stupid day Tuesday was in the Alabama Senate


Tuesday was a really stupid day for the Alabama Senate. It will go a long way toward maintaining the status quo for young people, especially those most at risk.

The Senate has advanced two incredibly stupid bills. One would have a devastating impact on public education and Alabama's poorest children, and the other would undermine the state's potential to turn gambling, which already exists in this state, into an educational opportunity for young people. It is something. people.

In a surprising move, the Senate Education Committee passed a voucher program bill. This bill deserves to be called a “choice law.” Because so many people choose to ignore the absolute insanity of paying for rich kids to attend private schools by taking money from schools that serve poor students. Because it is.

In any other context of public service, this plan would be laughed out of the room. Imagine a man who doesn't like the local park and asks you to follow him to the country club for “park money.” Could black citizens, tired of being mistreated by local police, take their “police money” and hire private security?

This kind of foolishness is the basis for the “school choice'' argument that the taxes paid by parents should follow their children.

That is the concept of someone who is ignorant about how taxes work and how public education funding works. We don't pay taxes per student. In theory, we fund schools per pupil, but that funding is extracted from all taxes. Because this country decided long ago that an educated population is best served as a civilized society. Therefore, public schools are run with public funds.

Now, even if you don't like them, you actually have educational freedom. Your child is free to pay wherever they go.

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But instead, because so many people have greedily drooled over public school tuition for decades, and if you throw racism into the mix, many white people can be persuaded to do something incredibly stupid, so we can now siphon hundreds of millions of dollars out of these public schools (most of which have been underfunded in this state for years) and give them away. They are trying to direct it to private companies. Private companies are held to dramatically different standards, are not audited to the same standards, are not publicly inspected, and are not expected to perform at the same level.

Want to know how stupid this is? If a private school accepts a student with special needs, the private school is not required to provide the educational tools necessary to properly serve that student.

Who is it? If you guessed that the local school system also lost him $7,000, you'd be right.

The vast majority of Alabama children attend public schools. This school employs teachers that you love, support, and treat like family. And you're just dealing with this madness that sucks money out of schools and teachers.

But, well, I don't think the poor kids who suffer from this are going to be able to go to college.

That ray of hope similarly vanished this afternoon as another Senate committee passed a gambling bill that's even stupider than the ludicrously stupid way we currently handle gambling in this state.

The bill passed by the Tourism Committee removed casinos and sports betting from the bill passed by the House of Representatives. Now several senators, led by Chris Elliott, Sam Givan and April Weaver, among others, want this: Lottery, several historic horse racing machines in the state's seven casinos. , and an agreement with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Full casinos would be allowed in only three current locations: Montgomery, Wetumpka and Atmore.

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That means if you're scoring at home, that's the same number of gambling establishments proposed in the House bill, but about a quarter of your income.

Apparently, these people didn't know that the deal with Poe Arch Creek meant that the state would only get a fraction of the revenue it would get from taxing traditional casinos because it would have to be negotiated through the federal government. Apparently not. But don't worry. We plan to only allow casinos in three locations that offer a minimum return.

There are no casinos in Birmingham. There is no casino on mobile. There are no casinos in northeast Alabama. The three locations where the state is projected to generate the most revenue and attract the most tourists.

And no sports betting. Alabamians spent more than $2 billion betting on games last year alone. Playing through shady local or foreign casino websites. But, well, why would a reputable company come in here and clean it up?

All this means that the Lottery Fund will pay most of the costs of introducing a Gambling Commission with a law enforcement arm. This cost would eat up tens of millions of dollars a year. And the plan would further cut one-third of the revenue earmarked for “education-related activities” (whatever that means).

We can't even offer two years of free college tuition to in-state students, let alone programs like Georgia's HOPE Scholarship.

But I'm here pretending that none of this is real. it's not. The House is never going to agree to this bill.

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This gambling bill was designed to do one thing and one thing only. It would give senators who are trying to repeal gaming laws on behalf of special and out-of-state interests the cover they need to claim they were trying to pass the lottery. That didn't work.

Because they think you're stupid. And they're doing their best to keep you that way.



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