SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop

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AFSCME Council 13 Vows to Fight Gov. Corbett's Midnight Raid on PA Seniors & Lottery

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AFSCME Council 13 will continue to oppose Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to give away as much as $1.5 billion in PA lottery funds that could fund vital senior programs to Camelot Global Services, the U.K.-based corporation that wants to take over the lottery.

Gov. Corbett signed a contract tonight after months of secretive negotiations with Camelot.

"It's just incredible that the governor would ignore the General Assembly and the thousands of Pennsylvanians we've heard from who understand that this is a bad deal for our seniors," said Dave Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13.

"This is a midnight raid. The governor rushed this deal through when the legislature was not in session. He refuses to provide access to any of the documents that they've traded back and forth with Camelot and he has refused to hold a single public hearing on this deal," Fillman added.

AFSCME has provided a counter-proposal to the administration to modernize and expand the lottery that would provide $1.5 billion more for senior programs than Camelot would under its flawed plan.

"Apparently, the governor wants to privatize something – anything – no matter the costs to Pennsylvanians," Fillman said. "Our lottery is one of the best in the nation and this administration just two weeks ago was congratulating our team for the great work they're doing. Now, they're telling people thanks, but we're terminating your job."

AFSCME and seven Democratic lawmakers filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to stop the governor from privatizing management of the lottery.  Seniors who benefit from lottery programs and several lottery employees also joined that litigation.

In addition, AFSCME is working with lawmakers in both parties to oppose Camelot's proposal to change current state law to drastically reduce the Commonwealth's annual commitment to lottery-funded programs. Current state law mandates that the state invest 27 percent of the Lottery Fund in senior programs annually. That minimum returns to its standard level of 30 percent on July 1, 2015.

But Camelot is betting that lawmakers will change that law and maintain the 27 percent floor for the next 20 years, through 2033. This change alone would amount to a $1.244 billion loss to seniors if the same sales revenues are achieved without Camelot's profit taking.

"For 42 years, the lottery has always gone well above the minimum because that's the right thing to do," Fillman said. "But under this deal, every $1 above that minimum goes to Camelot's bottom line."

 

SOURCE AFSCME Council 13

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