TIME TO LEGALIZE GAMBLING

Dear Editor:

Texas has long been a national model of economic growth by promoting policies to encourage economic prosperity. What’s more, our job creation in the private sector and population growth have generated headlines around the nation. However, we have some turbulence ahead. After a challenging year marked by the coronavirus pandemic that has been devastating to our state economy, the Texas Legislature is currently drafting the next two-year state budget and we have some serious ground to make up. And although the state’s economic outlook is better than first predicted earlier in the pandemic, we still have many challenges that need to be addressed.

As we look for new sources of revenue to support vital state programs without raising taxes, we should look no further than the proposed constitutional amendment – HJR 97/HB 2070 and SJR 39/SB 736 – that we introduced to give the people of Texas a voice in legalizing sports betting in Texas. Texans want to make their own decisions about whether to participate in sports betting.

If this proposal is passed, our voters will be given the opportunity this November to determine for themselves if they want to authorize, regulate, license and tax sports betting activity and bring us in line with more than two dozen other states. Texans are already placing illegal bets on sports to the tune of $5 billion per year – in many cases offshore sports books that offer no protections against bad actors and leave Texans with no recourse. In the current unregulated environment there are no protections for the most vulnerable in our state.

A legal, regulated sports betting market will help deter unlawful sports betting in and provide strict state oversight over sports betting operators while generating new revenue for state coffers. Creating a legal, regulated structure for sports betting has bipartisan support and is good for consumers and good for Texas. The proceeds from licensed sports betting operators will be taxed and we could see as much as $180 million in new revenue for the next two-year budget cycle and as the market grows could see as much as $1 billion over the next decade. The tax revenue from legalizing sports betting could go toward state programs in health care, education, property tax reform or even updating our power grid. This revenue will have a real benefit to Texas families.

Texans love their sports. With nearly a dozen major league teams, we have one of the largest sports markets in the nation. With an effective regulatory structure, Texas could become one of the biggest sports betting markets in the nation virtually overnight. This would create jobs, generate state revenue and stimulate the Texas economy.

With our rich history, Texans are all about freedom of choice. Our voters should be given the right to decide for themselves if they want to engage in legal sports wagering. This proposal provides a legal, regulated structure with strict oversight over sports betting operators to protect Texans while preserving the integrity of our sporting events. The current status quo is unacceptable.

It is only right that we give Texans a voice on this important issue.

Dan Huberty (R-Humble) and Sen. Juan “Chuy’’ Hinojosa (D-McAllen)

Editor’s Note: Huberty, a Republican of Humble, represents District 127 in the Texas House of Representatives. Hinojosa, a Democrat of McAllen, represents District 20 in the Texas Senate.

 

NOT ALWAYS THE SAME

Dear Editor:

Charlton Robertson seems to think that Democrats are socialists and anti-capitalist. He should acquaint himself with Warren Buffett, who is a Democrat and a card-carrying capitalist. See google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=Warren+Buffett+democrat+card-carrying+capitalist.

 Bill Bailey
Kingwood

 

SAVE A LIFE

Dear Editor:

The Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) was founded in April 1986 when residents of Bloomington, Indiana, rallied around a toddler who needed a life-saving liver transplant. In less than eight weeks, the community raised $100,000 to place the boy on the organ waiting list. But he died before an organ was found. Those community volunteers, along with his parents, turned tragedy into triumph by using those funds to help other transplant families. For 35 years, COTA has assisted thousands of transplant families by helping to raise funds for transplant-related expenses. COTA has built extensive volunteer networks across the nation in an attempt to ensure that no child or young adult needing an organ or tissue transplant is excluded from a transplant waiting list due to lack of funds. We need your help today to make sure that tragedies, like the one that was the catalyst in founding COTA 35 years ago, are not repeated. April is National Donate Life Month. Every day 20 people die in the United States waiting for an organ transplant. One organ donor can save eight lives. Today, 110,000 people are waiting for life-saving transplants. Please go to RegisterMe.org and register to be a designated organ and/or tissue donor.

Rick Lofgren, president
via email

 

Daunte Wright’s Death 

As the trial of Derrick Chauvin is ongoing in Minneapolis, there has been another police-involved shooting in nearby Brooklyn Center. This one has a major difference in that there is no doubt that the police officer, Kim Potter, caused the death of Daunte Wright. Potter, a 26-year veteran of Brooklyn Center’s police force, has resigned her position as an officer. Charges may be coming, but the incident illustrates the real threat of having officers carry a standard weapon and a taser. In the heat of the moment, the wrong weapon can be drawn, and that is what apparently happened. But, we have to, again as done with George Floyd, turn to the victim to see if Wright did anything to put himself in the position that led to his death. First, he was pulled over for driving a vehicle with expired tags, so again he wasn’t being targeted. Now, some police critics state that the police attitude was that he was killed for ‘driving while black,’ but this implies that somehow black people can’t keep up with car registrations, which actually sounds racist if you think about it. Then, it turns out that Wright had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest, which is when police moved to arrest him. At this point, Wright’s life was not in danger. He chose to resist arrest and try to escape, which led to the scuffle that led to his death. The usual results have happened. There has been rioting of businesses, including some that donated to the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. The police chief was fired after referring to the riots as riots. Wright’s family will undoubtedly reap a financial windfall for Potter’s actions, but in this case some compensation is deserved, unlike the case with Floyd. Had he just cooperated with police and not resisted arrest, the circumstances would not have arisen that caused his death. Does anyone doubt this?

Andrew Gayre
Atascocita

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