Friday, January 8, 2010

Ethics and Table Games

A co-worker reminded me of the following episode.

Our TV station was once owned by the New York Times.  After some well publicized blunders by the print staff and their managers, the Times decided to make us take a short on-line ethics course.

It came down to three simple rules:

1. Don't give gifts.
2. Don't accept gifts.
3. Tell on those who do.

A slew of elected officials took their oaths of office this week.  I hope some of them are blog readers, and I also hope they remember the little lesson taught to us by the New York Times.

When you are elected to an office, people put their trust in you.  Please, don't throw it back in our faces.

Home improvement guru Bob Vila used to call it the "you might as well's."   Simply put "While you're installing that new furnace, you might as well upgrade the duct work."  "While you're putting in that water heater, you might as well make some changes in the plumbing."  "Those new windows are nice,  but you might as well put in a new door while you're at it."  You get the picture.

Pennsylvania has had slot machines for a few years.  The governor and state legislature reasoned "You might as well have table games."  If you look at it closely, the jump from slots to cards and dice is not a large one.  You might as well.  The state really needs the money.  Revenue table games was plugged into the budget, even before a table games bill was passed and signed.

Having said that, there are concerns the money raised from table games doesn't go to the right places.  There will be no property tax relief at first.  Some complain the casinos are getting the licenses at bargain rates, and they won't be taxed enough.  It's severely flawed legislation and bad policy.

We should be used to that by now.