Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coincidence in today's news

You've all heard of the Clean Water Act on the MN ballot next week, right? Today's news had two pieces of impact on it. First, from the StarTrib LTE-

Twenty years ago the Minnesota election ballot had a constitutional amendment establishing the lottery, which was in large part “sold” on the basis of proceeds going to the environment. Remember?

We again are faced with an amendment in which revenue will go, in part, to the environment. Before voting it is important to review where the lottery money goes. The detailed breakdown is readily found on the website

In rounded numbers 75 cents of every dollar sold by the lottery goes to prizes, administration and vendors. Of the remaining 25 cents nearly 15 cents goes into the state’s General Fund. The important distribution relating to the current ballot initiative is 4½ cents to the Game and Fish Fund and the Natural Resources Fund. This changed with the 2000 Legislature in lieu of the state collecting sales tax on lottery tickets! The remaining money goes to the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is distributed by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources.

Since its inception, the lottery has stayed under the radar — until just recently in this election cycle. In some states a complete lottery audit is published yearly in the major newspapers. I don’t recall seeing one in Minnesota. There is money in the lottery for clean water and the environment. We don’t need another amendment; we passed one in 1988!

Daryl Williamson, Eden Prairie

Second, from the MN Department of Natural Resources-

Winning MN's 1st Walleye Stamp To Be Picked

ST. PAUL (AP) ― A winning design will be chosen today for Minnesota's first walleye stamp contest.

A five-judge panel will conduct the public round of judging at 2 p.m. at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources headquarters in St. Paul. The first two rounds of judging are closed to the public. Judges will select a winner and runner-up.

A walleye stamp will add $5 to the cost of a 2009 fishing license if an angler chooses to purchase it. Revenue from stamp sales will be dedicated to walleye stocking and directly related activities.

So the lottery proceeds that were used to buy off politicians votes in 1988 are long forgotten. Thus, we need the Clean Water Act, which will actually only dedicate a fraction of the proceeds of an increased sales tax to clean water. But just in case you pesky citizens vote it down, the DNR is ready to ease you into a $5 surcharge to catch the state fish. I especially like the part about 'will add $5 to the cost of a 2009 fishing license if the angler chooses to purchase it'. I predict a few years of voluntary walleye stamps will give may to mandatory ones.

I don't mind paying taxes. But I do object to having to pay 300 different taxes because the state assumes I am too stupid or too complacent to keep track of them all.

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