HARRISBURG, February 26, 2013 — State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe), Democratic Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, today questioned the merits of privatizing management of the state’s 41-year-old Lottery.
“It is clear from today’s Appropriations Committee hearing that the administration believes that handing management of the Pennsylvania Lottery to Camelot Global Services is the best way to raise funds for seniors’ programs,” Blake said. “I disagree.”
“We should leverage this already well-performing $4 billion asset and its effective and productive American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) workforce and, as necessary and appropriate, engage outside professional support to drive growth in our lottery proceeds. We should properly legislate managerial flexibility for our Lottery similar to what was considered under the Private Management Agreement (PMA) with respect to lottery revenue and marketing enhancements.”
Blake noted that the Lottery has been a continuous success story over the past four decades. Speaking at today’s budget hearing, Blake said there is significant bipartisan agreement on numerous Lottery management and performance goals. He said senators mutually agree that there is a need for increased funding for seniors’ programs.
He added that most senators agree that the Corbett Administration’s privatization proposal should have been better vetted and more strategically planned. He said there should have been greater public input and greater interaction between the executive and legislative branches. As a result of the manner in which the administration pursued privatization, Blake said the Lottery Fund will now have to absorb the legal and consulting fees that could have been avoided.
Blake said that based on documents provided by Attorney General Kathleen Kane and her recent testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Attorney General ’s recent nullification of the PMA was well founded, well defended and legally substantiated.
“In making future improvements to the Lottery, I hope the governor will proceed more cooperatively, openly and transparently and further engage the General Assembly in a solution that works for our seniors,” Blake said.
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EDITOR’s NOTE: Attached is a JPG photo of Senator Blake questioning Revenue Department Secretary Dan Meuser at today’s budget hearing in Harrisburg.