Bingo and Bicycles
A couple months ago, the General Assembly approved a bill that would end taxation of bingo cards, allow organizations to hold more frequent bingo games and to spend more on advertising them, and make other minor changes to state bingo regulations.
Now, Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed the bill, invoking education as his reason:
“In light of current fiscal conditions, this reduction to education funding cannot be absorbed,” Mr. Nixon wrote
This comes just after the news that the state-subsidized bicycle race will proceed as originally planned, with the usual funding.
The state could have ended funding for the race, spent the money saved on education, and decreased the bingo tax accordingly. The bicycle race costs $1.5 million and the bingo tax brings in $2.2 million, so funds from the race wouldn’t completely cover the lost revenue if the tax were eliminated. But it would allow for a reduction, and the bingo bill’s other measures would increase revenue because more bingo games could be played. If a reduction in the tax is unacceptable, that’s no reason to maintain the restrictions on frequency of games and advertising expenses, which don’t affect education one way or another.
“Education” is a poor excuse for choosing bicycles over bingo. It doesn’t explain why the state doesn’t tax bicycles to pay for education and subsidize bingo games, which would be just as reasonable as the current arrangement.