06 July 2009

You've Got to Be In It? You've Got to Be Kidding!

Let's get one thing straight - the New Jersey Lottery, in all of its forms, is a tax. And more than that, it's the worst kind of regressive tax, because it disproportionately hits the poor. A 2008 Carnegie Mellon University study on how poverty influences the decision to buy lottery tickets noted that, "lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals' desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations".

This is why the recently enacted state law imposing an income tax up to 11% on lottery winnings is so puzzling. The lottery is, or should be, a revenue machine. If the state isn't making enough money from it, they need to adjust the variables - change the payouts, cut the overhead, whatever - not tax the few lucky ones that hit a prize over $10,000.

Hey Trenton, I've got an idea. Why not a $1 billion lottery? "Instant Billionaire". It would be the biggest game ever. All you need to do is enact a special 99% billionaire lottery tax.

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