Opinion: Will casinos really fix HOPE, Georgia’s other problems?

The casinos bill had its first hearing before a Senate committee this past week, and so far the discussion has little to do with whether it’s a good idea to open Georgia’s doors to an industry that would suck money out of residents’ pockets. It has much more to do with how to divvy up the state’s meager share of the loot.

(Before I go on, let’s note the utter shamelessness of the terms the gambling industry demands for gracing us with its presence. Usually, a state will either grant casinos a limited amount of competition or a low tax rate. Senate Bill 79 gives them both.)

AP Photo / Wayne Parry

AP Photo / Wayne Parry

Under the bill, the state would get 20 percent of casinos’ gambling revenues. But that 20 percent cut would then be sliced and diced into various state programs, three of them as of now. That stands to grow as reluctant (or savvy) legislators withhold support for the bill until their pet cause is dealt in.

For example, there was a call during Thursday’s committee hearing to bump up the amount devoted to health care to 30 percent from 20 percent, and then split that between trauma care and rural hospitals. Expect more jockeying over the amount devoted to the HOPE scholarship vs. a new, need-based college scholarship.

Absent in all this talk of money for this and money for that is exactly how much money we’re talking about, and whether it would solve the problems under discussion.

The independent study completed last month for Central Atlanta Progress, downtown’s business boosters, indicates the state’s take from two casinos could be upward of $320 million a year. That’s close to what casino backers suggest as well.

Consider what that would, or wouldn’t, mean for HOPE. Six years ago, lawmakers addressed a looming deficit in the program by changing it to cover only 90 percent of tuition costs. The deficit then was north of $200 million. Lottery revenues have since rebounded, but tuition has also gone up. HOPE now covers between 70 and 88 percent of tuition, depending on the college.

Exact figures for how much HOPE would need to get back to 100 percent are elusive. But based on that 70-88 percent range, we can estimate it’d be between $60 million and $180 million.

The latest version of SB 79 calls for half of that $320 million in new state revenues to go to HOPE. Let’s assume further tinkering doesn’t lower that proportion — and, less solidly, that the revenue projections actually pan out. If so, we could expect casino revenues to fall somewhere between comfortably covering the gap and still falling short of 100 percent.

But that’s just in Year 1. After a few years of student-enrollment growth and/or tuition increases, we’d be right back where we were in 2011 when HOPE was cut.

The actual numbers may vary a bit, but it’s clear a few hundred million dollars won’t slow, much less reverse, the long-term trend of rising college costs. They will either be a short-term palliative or a first step toward another expansion of gambling down the road as another quick fix.

It would be braver and more helpful of legislators to have the more difficult debate about whether HOPE can really recapture its glory days of being everything to everyone. Then they might have a more sober discussion about whether casinos really make sense for our state.

Reader Comments 0

163 comments
Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 How can cnn even exist? They are actively engaged in subverting the Executive Branch of the United States Government. They are not providing the truth, they are manufacturing alternate evidence. What is the difference between this and treason?


Why is cnn still alive?


This one would be goostepping high and proud in 1933.


What a tool

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Wonder when Kyle will break his radio silence on the Devos disaster?

In the meantime, this might give some here pause when you consider this out of Michigan, the apparent gold standard for the school piratization thugs.


http://markmaynard.com/2017/02/5th-grade-charter-school-teacher-mika-yamamoto-fired-from-michigans-renaissance-public-school-academy-where-she-was-the-only-teacher-of-color-claims-she-was-told-by-her-principal-the-community/


5th grade charter school teacher Mika Yamamoto, fired from Michigan’s Renaissance Public School Academy, where she was the only teacher of color, claims she was told by her principal, “The community is not ready for your voice.”


oh, and here's the main reason conservatives get sooo tumescent over the prospect of school piratization:


Charter school teachers have no contract and no union. In an at-will state, this means that they can be fired for almost any reason. Charter school teachers usually get paid poorly compared to public school teachers, so teachers often don’t have the financial security to be jobless for even a short time. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

Feb 14 - “I think there needs to be fulsome investigation on all angles relative to nefarious activities that were taking place with Russia, beginning in March but even going back before that time,” said Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He said Flynn’s resignation “heightens” the need for GOP leaders to conduct an expanded probe, although he stopped short of endorsing an independent commission as Democrats have demanded.

Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Republicans, also said that more needs to be learned about Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak and Russia’s involvement in U.S. politics.

Yes, the Russian involvement in our election is very troubling. We need to get to the bottom of this.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Who in the hell is cnn? What is their tax status? Why do they hold such a prominent position in which direction this country is taken? They are owned by one person, one person who has purchased an outsized voice over the rest of the country? Why do we allow this? Why are we letting one person hamstring our entire government? Who speaks for the majority? How did the globalist agenda gain so much control over the Freest people in the world?


Where is our leadership?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

"You can count on America to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else."


That^^ is the only reason that cnn still exists.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I have officially joined the negative side of the Trump job approval rating because he has not yet smoked cnn. This is not a joke, the future of our country is a stake. The future of my children is not dependent upon what a few media hacks or some bought and paid for Republican senators think we should be doing, why are we allowing this? Why are we not stomping their guts out?


You are the leader of the free world, act like it.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Um, Fox News, cAndy?

Oh, and you're just about the most fickle fan I've ever seen. Geez, son, grow some integrity. Find some principles and stick with them. Don't be so easily taken by fascism.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

How can cnn even exist? They are actively engaged in subverting the Executive Branch of the United States Government. They are not providing the truth, they are manufacturing alternate evidence. What is the difference between this and treason?


Why is cnn still alive?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

So how do Republicans campaign as total different people than they govern as? Who has bought and paid for them? Who has damaging information on them? Who is who?Why are we not crushing who, now that we have all the power? Are we afraid of who? You have the majority of the People of the United States behind you, see the results of the last election minus all of the fraud. The enemy, in this situation, has a few noisy media outlets. Right now, they control the narrative. The majority of America versus a few noisy media outlets. 


Why have we not destroyed the noisy media outlets?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Come on, Mr Bannon, you are better than this. Let's get in touch with your inner democrat. Manufacturer some fake lindsey grahamnesty dossier stories, leak them all around. Haul mr grahamnesty before Congress to answer to the fake dossier stories. Trap him in his testimony and then open the books on all his past and present dealings with big business and the payments he accepts for the legislation he pushes. Cite anonymous sources. Bury that a**.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Let's review what the Russians did during this last election; they suckered a top democrat strategist with a porn phishing scheme, that when he clicked on it, they gained total access to his hard drive. Upon this hard drive were emails that exposed the anti American lying schemes of the democrat party, things that they would never discuss honestly with you, the voter, but were constant thoughts in their empty heads. Some would call this a service. If you had any doubts that democrats were dishonest rat people, the hacked emails totally removed these doubts.


Yes, the American people were provided with information that the democrats would have otherwise hidden from them. Think about it for a minute.


That being said, it probably didn't change anyone's mind, this election was about the economy, stupid.


This^^ is what grahamnesty wastes his time investigating.


How about, instead, we investigate grahamnesty's influence peddling?


It's a lot more harmful to America than the Russians are.


Fact

breckenridge
breckenridge

Top Republican and Democratic senators pledged Tuesday to deepen their investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election in the wake of Michael Flynn's resignation as President Trump's national security adviser.

Good to see the republicans standing up for America.  You would expect as much from any good American. 

lvg
lvg

So Trump handling top secret materials in full view at a  public restaurant and then engaging in confidential discussions on national security at a public restaurant is not nearly as bad as Hillary getting a couple of e-mails on her server with a small c.

NealBoortz
NealBoortz

How bought Legalizing Marijuana....that'll Fix Hope, instead of watching people Lose there life savings.  

I Cannot Wait until NC, SC, Fla, OR Bama legalize it and watch Tens of Millions of Tax dollars $$$ leave the State.....these JoJah politicians WILL THEN sell their Moms on a street corner trying to piece of that TAX action.  

Watch and S@@

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

But lately I get the feeling that Trump’s critics have evolved from expecting Trump to be Hit-ler to preferring it. Obviously they don’t prefer it in a conscious way. But the alternative to Trump becoming Hit-ler is that they have to live out the rest of their lives as confirmed mo-rons.


Fact.


MAGA#45

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45

Face it, IReport - your führer is going to go down, quicker and more spectacularly than anyone could have predicted.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder @AndyManUSA#45 It's going to be an awfully long 8 years for your a**, eyeball. Three weeks in and you've already gone quite insane. You'll be positively rabid in another week or so and there's only 2,900 days to go.


lol

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

John Oliver did a segment on the ruse of using "legal gambling" as  a way to pay for school. 

North Carolina sold the idea that gambling receipts would go to public schools but, as Oliver points out, NC spent more on education BEFORE the legalized gambling than they did after!


(Quite a bit of foul language in the link)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PK-netuhHA

vespajet
vespajet

The casinos will do fine until a neighboring state decides to legalize casinos.  Markets end up cannibalizing other markets until you end up with some markets looking like Atlantic City in which several casinos have shuttered in recent years due to competition from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Connecticut.  It should be interesting to see how MGM Springfield and Wynn Boston Harbor cannibalize Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun when those properties open up in Massachusetts in the next few years.  A casino in Atlanta would affect the two Caesars Entertainment managed properties of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee as well as the bingo slot parlors of the Poarch Band of the Creek in Alabama (The Poarch Band are trying to get the State of Alabama to agree to a compact that would allow their various Wind Creek properties to offer Las Vegas-style gaming.).

lvg
lvg

""""Angry Utahans shouted down Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, at the Republican’s recent town hall meeting.

“Do your job!” they chanted, scolding him for refusing to investigate the Trump administration.

In fairness to Chaffetz, he is busy with more pressing matters.

True, Chaffetz, after his unending probes of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, hasn’t shown any appetite to examine, say, the Trump administration’s ties to Russia or its many conflicts of interest. But the chairman has shown determination to probe, without fear or favor, the threat to America posed by Sid the Science Kid.

The chairman of the powerful panel — the main investigative committee in the House — sent a letter to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demanding to know why, in an attempt to raise awareness of the Zika virus, “CDC appears poised to make a sole source award to the Jim Henson Company for $806,000 to feature Sid the Science Kid in an educational program about the virus.”"""


https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/instead-of-probing-trump-chaffetz-takes-aim-at-a-cartoon-preschooler/2017/02/13/7e74e63c-f232-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a:homepage/story&utm_term=.9b66fd65a1c9

rdh
rdh

Casinos have not brought prosperity in any place they have been legalized.... except maybe Las Vegas and a few American Indian Reservations.  I don't think that they will bring prosperity to GA. 

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

Look for ths New York Times best-seller by the end of 2017:

"Rise and Fall of the Trump Reich: How To Fail in Politics in 100 Days or Less"

breckenridge
breckenridge

@NativeAtlantan57 

The White House meets reality television.  The big difference: with the Trump administration the producers don't have to force the dramatic sequences.

Birdfanforlife
Birdfanforlife

Its funny how one problem leads to another. The reason tuition is going up is because of the hope scholarship. It's also way more difficult for local students to even to go college in Georgia without being super smart. Late bloomers are now weeded out completely. Also is this just a wealth transfer from poor people who predominantly gamble to rich people who send their kids to college for nothing. The system was fine the way it was without legalizing the vice of gambling to the state's poor population. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The Flynn, tempest in a teapot will be history with the public in a few more days if it isn't already. The liberal left media will of course try to make it continue but it will only add to the publics distrust of the media.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@SGTGrit 

Flynn did set a record for the shortest tenure as a National Security Adviser.  It gives him something to tell the grandkids.

NativeAtlantan57
NativeAtlantan57

@SGTGrit The media's job is to keep power and corruptness in check. They have their hands full. Your spin of deserved bad press is laughable. Only Deplorables buy into it.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@SGTGrit Yes, it already has. Just because it's a special day in the land of the fascist, this doesn't quite equal the fall of the Roman Empire. I never did like Flynn to begin with, he was fired from the obama admin which is a plus to his resume, but he was still awfully flaky, mouthing too many politically motivated opinions. That was not his job, his job was to protect America from foreign and domestic threats. 


I think this was Trump's first pick and he rushed it.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45 @SGTGrit  

And yet your fuhrer had "full confidence" in him, IReport. Go figure, eh! Clearly, his leadership skills suck. Let's just hope our brave men and women in uniform don't die as a result of his incompetence and treason.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@NativeAtlantan57 @SGTGrit  I guess you slept through the eight years of Obamanation. The most divisive, corrupt and incompetent administration in United States history. Where was the media then keeping power and corruptness in check?

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @NativeAtlantan57 Obama's foreign policy efforts were unimpressive, but he wasn't corrupt. Divisiveness? Not really, not like Nixon.

Starik
Starik

@breckenridge @SGTGrit With Bannon and Miller still here, the Flynn episode may well fade away - more scandals are coming.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit @NativeAtlantan57  A presidents refusal to enforce the nations laws is corruption in its worst form because of the effect it could have on national security. Obama, did refuse to fully enforce our immigration laws. As for divisiveness, his penchant for introducing race into serious issues were indeed divisive.

bu22
bu22

@SGTGrit @Starik @NativeAtlantan57 He also was the most resistant president to the FOIA.  Lots of problems with transparency.  Media was just afraid to make a big deal of their guy ignoring them.

lvg
lvg

@breckenridge @SGTGrit They will have to pay him off to keep him from getting Trump impeached.

No sanctions  in exchange for helping Trump get elected and  keeping that secret Trump dossier hidden.

Starik
Starik

@bu22 @SGTGrit @Starik @NativeAtlantan57  No President, as far as I know, has really pursued illegal immigrants from Mexico; we need the labor. Obama was the first black President, and overall he was restrained with the racial crap.

concernedoldtimer
concernedoldtimer

Actually could be more of a problem for Obama as that is when the illegal tapping hsppened

Caius
Caius

Recording of the conversations between Flynn and the Russian ambassador was an FBI , not CIA, project. After VP Pence went out and unknowingly lied the Justice Dept advised the Counsel to the President of the actual conversation.  The WH sat on it for a month until the Wash Post reported the story and forced their hand.

As is usual in these type cases it was the cover up that got everyone in trouble. If Flynn had not lied to the VP, and let the VP lie to the people, he would still have his job.

We will find out more after congressional investigations.  But we will not find out why the WH sat on info and only acted after it became public.

One of WH problems is way to many mouths talking about the same thing. They really need a communications director and they need him yesterday.

My advice to Trump is to let no one but VP Pence say a word in public about anything. He is the only person there who seems to have a clue.


lvg
lvg

@Caius  Clown show needs a communications director??

They got Kelly Anne who loves to communicate.

Just its her facts that she communicates.

Remember the Bowling Green Massacre.