Lottery, broke state style — pay with cash, win an I.O.U.

If you live in Illinois, went down to the QuickieMart, bought a lottery ticket and struck it it lucky, well,….sux to be you.

In 2012 both the City of Chicago and State of Illinois’ Democrat-dominated legislative bodies voted to more than DOUBLE income taxes on both residents and businesses. By paying “Federal Motor Fuel” tax (18.4¢), “Illinois Motor Fuel” tax (19.0¢), “Cook County and Chicago Motor Fuel” tax (11.0¢), “Illinois Environmental Impact” tax (1.1¢), “Illinois State Sales” tax (19.68¢), “Cook County and Chicago Sales” tax (11.02¢), drivers in Illinois pay 80.2¢ in taxes per gallon of gasoline. Second only to another state run by nothing but liberals – California.

That last tax (Cook County and Chicago Sales tax) was just raised an additional 1%. Both interstate and intrastate highways in Illinois are peppered with so many toll booths that on some stretches motorists must stop and pay a toll less than every ten miles. Real estate taxes? Sky high. Vehicle registration? Ditto. Want to build a building? Fuggetaboutit.

The list of taxes, fees and statutory penalties that are in truth defacto taxes goes on and on. Yet despite its best efforts to tax itself into prosperity the state of Illinois is broke. What happens when a state budget is empty? Unlike the feds, states can’t just fire up the printing presses & run them all night long or borrow it from China. No, instead they have to either raise (or invent new) taxes or stop paying bills. Illinois is steadily doing both.

The lottery is not technically a bill or expense. Quite the contrary, lotto is supposed to be a source of revenue to the state or governing body. The idea being people pay more money to play than the gambit pays out in winning.  Yet despite the fact that people pay in order to play, Illinois is now treating the lotto as a bill.

Since July 1 the state hadn’t been able to pay winners of over $25,000 and halted those winnings payments, earlier today the Illinois legislature lowered  lowered the threshold to $600. Rather than being paid with a check, holders of winning Illinois State Lottery tickets worth $600 or more will be issued an I.O.U. from the state.

Two winners (of $50,000 and $500,000 prizes) who have not been paid have already launched a class-action lawsuit against the state. Its needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, the cost of defending the suit will undoubtedly cost the state more than the $550,000 of winnings they owe the plaintiffs. But if you have no money and you owe somebody a dollar you may as well owe them a million dollars – what’s the difference if you haven’t got it?Illinois’ budget situation is far beyond a crisis. Ever-escalating taxes have businesses fleeing in absolute droves thus depleting the state’s tax revenue base while simultaneously forcing more residents onto state welfare rolls. Its a cycle seen in Greece and other places around the world. What tact will Illinois legislators take in an effort to keep their state solvent and afloat? They’ll seek to right their sinking ship by raising taxesI’ll bet you a winning lotto ticket on it.


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