Who are 213,000 Idahoans compared to 10 legislators?

If nothing else this year, the current batch of Idaho lawmakers has displayed its unbridled contempt for the people. The latest milestone: Last week, 10 members of the House State Affairs Committee canceled out the votes of the nearly 213,000 Idahoans who in 1988 passed a constitutional amendment creating the Idaho State Lottery. In so doing, the voters were answering the pleas of retailers along the border, who helplessly watched their customers cross into Washington and Oregon in order to purchase a lottery ticket — and stuck around to buy gas or a few other items while they were at it. The voters were striking a blow for personal liberty. If Idahoans wanted the freedom to buy a lottery ticket, why should a few blue noses in state government have the right to stop them? They were opting for a shared experience. After decades of resistance, the U.S. in the late 1980s was warming up to the idea of state lotteries and Idahoans no longer wanted to be shut out of this national phenomenon. In a such a small state, a lottery was never going to deliver a robust dividend. You could not replace tax support for teacher salaries with it — and lottery advocates made no such claims. But over the years, Idaho’s lottery generated a respectable profit for school buildings and public works. During that time, the operation has been free of scandal. And in keeping with the standard set in its earliest years, the advertising has […]

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