So we’ve got this election coming up – which can’t come soon enough with all the carpet bombing of candidate/issue ads. I’ve pretty much figured out most of the candidates I’m going to vote for, but I’m still thinking about a few of the ballot issues.
Specifically, the thing I’ve been struggling with for a while is Ohio’s Issue 3. It’s being marketed as an education issue, but essentially it would allow gambling machines to operate in Ohio. It targets some percentage of revenues to go to education, so of course that’s what it’s backers are shouting from the rooftops.
Initially, I was just going to vote against it without giving the question too much thought – but then I started to wonder about whether that was the best option. I don’t gamble, don’t plan on gambling – but I do have a son, and he’s going to need an educational system that doens’t suck. It’s been almost a decade now since the Ohio Supreme Court decided that property taxes are an unconstitutional way to fund education in the state, and nobody’s managed to come up with an alternative, more equitable plan.
My big question is, why shouldn’t I vote for Issue 3? The biggest argument against it that I’ve come up with stems from the moralistic “people shouldn’t gamble” argument – which carries some weight, but that doesn’t really fit in with some of the other anti-paternalism positions that I’ve adopted. If somebody wants to gamble, fine – and I understand that a certain percentage of the population will gamble too much, need intervention/support, and I think I’m willing to undertake that burden as long as it’s a net benefit to society.
Another problem with Issue 3 is that their claims are a bit overblown – it’s passed off as raising “almost a billion dollars a year” – which is accurate, assuming you describe 850 million as “almost a billion”, and also assuming that the casinos hit their (absurdly high) growth targets. But, given the educational mess we’re in, even if its only a few hundred million dollars is that such a problem? The plan doesn’t raise some (very large) nice round number, so I’m going to vote against the good that it does do?
I really am struggling with this one though – I feel like maybe I’m missing something, and I don’t want to miss anything. What do you all think? Leave a comment, blog in your own space, email me, whatever – I want your thoughts.