Opinion > Star Staff
Up the Creek: Gambling on destinations
By Ken Byler
Remember the headline "Getcha Popcorn Ready"? Terrell Owens was gonna do for Allen what he did for Jerry Jones. It was hard for a lot of folks to keep their dinner down when it was announced that signing Terrell Owens to the local arena football team would make Allen a destination.
Folks have been hearing that everything from Terrell Owens to the Arts of Collin County was gonna make Allen a destination. Meanwhile Allen, without the help of either T O or the ACC has become a destination for a lot of folks wanting to live, work and play in one of the safest and best places in America.
Property taxes in Allen have been lowered 16 years in a row, but that trend may soon end. The city of Allen has upped some fees and started charging for services that in the past were free. The higher fees will fall mostly on small businesses during a time of uncertainty in a soft economy.
The city of Allen is looking at ways to save money by outsourcing the management of some Parks and Recreation facilities. But outsourcing can backfire. Awhile back, the idea of outsourcing Texas highway construction and maintenance was heralded as a way to save money. Republicans gained control of the Texas Legislature and highways were outsourced. The cost of building and maintaining Texas' highways skyrocketed. The reason? The Texas Department of Transportation employs 12,000 people, including 1,100 engineers, and hardly any were let go.
It's only my opinion, but sooner or later the populace will have to recognize a self-evident truth. For the citizenry to continue receiving city services at the current levels, I believe property taxes will have to be raised.
Another problem has been spotted on the horizon. An 800-pound turkey will be coming in to roost come January. It's called Obamacare, and like the Frankenstein monster, it can't be killed. Government officials are looking high and low for ways to pay for this bird.
According to state Comptroller Susan Combs, general revenue spending on Health and Human Services will have to increase more than 70 percent to accommodate Obamacare. General revenue spending on public education will probably be cut back at least 10 percent. This will no doubt create another funding crisis for public schools.
The solution to the funding crisis appears to be waiting in the wings down in Austin. It's called casino gambling, and I suspect its proponents will be rallying under the "do it for the kids" flag. Yep! The idea of shooting craps and saving schools all on the same roll of the dice is bound to touch the heart of much of the populace.
There's no logical reason for the state of Texas to prevent its citizens from blowing their own money on whatever quirks excite them - whether it's rapper Lil' Wayne in concert at the Allen Center or a craps game. Rap or crap, it's their money.
But the truth is, gambling adds nothing to the local economy when it's only local folks doing the gambling; it just rearranges who's holding the money. Casino gambling will improve the state's economy only when a bunch of folks from other states flock in here to blow their rent and car payment money in the great state of Texas.
But it would help the Collin County economy if a way could be found to head off those folks going up I-35 and Highway 75 intent on blowing their money in the Winstar and Choctaw tribal casinos in Oklahoma.
Maybe we can get Terrell Owens back. I hear he's available again.
Ken Byler is a Star columnist, author and artist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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