GAMBLING 6'?m5f Gambling: the lottery is a tax on the poor

(scene: several chairs face podium C. People dressed in business 
clothes enter in ones, twos, threes and sit) 

LIZ -- (enters hurriedly carrying briefcase, collapsing an
umbrella, sits in back row nearest to audience, reaches forward, 
taps Meg on shoulder) Have they begun debate on the lottery bill 

MEG -- (without looking back) Yes, I think they're ready to call 
the vote.

LIZ -- They can't do that! I haven't had a chance to speak yet.

MEG -- (looks back) Oh, you're that lobbyist from the lottery 
company, aren't you?

LIZ -- Well, yes, I am. My flight was delayed....

AMY -- (enters pounds gavel on podium) The finance committee 
will again come to order. Do I hear any motions?

ONE -- (raises hand) I move to call the vote.

TWO -- (raises hand) Second.

LIZ -- (stands) Madam Chairperson, I have some information 
pertaining to this discussion

AMY -- (scans paper) I'm sorry, but, everyone on the list 
(holds up paper) has spoken.

LIZ -- Yes, I'm sorry, but due to the storm, my flight was 
delayed. I didn't get here in time to have my name put on the...

AMY -- You're the lobbyist for the gambling industry, aren't 

LIZ -- Actually, I represent the company that will most likely 
administer the lottery when it's implemented.

AMY -- IF it's implemented, you mean.

LIZ -- Yes. I'm sorry, but I wasn't aware that there was much 
opposition to the lottery in this state. I'm sure you know that 
millions of dollars of lottery proceeds will go directly to the 

AMY -- Yes, we've all heard the rhetoric. Our offices have been 
inundated with propaganda from you people every day for the last 
six months. Now, where were we?

ONE -- (raises hand) I move to call the vote.

TWO -- (raises hand) Second.

AMY -- We have a motion to call the vote and the motion has been 

LIZ -- If I may, I'd like to be sure we are all on the same 

AMY -- I've talked with all of the committee members during the 
recess. And I assure you, we're all on the same page.

LIZ -- We're talking about millions of dollars directly to the 

AMY -- So you've said.

LIZ -- But I sense some hostility to the bill.

AMY -- Only to the bill as you submitted it. We've looked at the 
pros and cons from all angles and I think we're all comfortable 
with the bill the way it's been rewritten.

LIZ -- You are? So, you're inclined to pass the bill?

AMY -- Yes, we are. Now if you'll be seated, we'll proceed with 
our vote. Now, where were we?

ONE -- (raises hand) I move to call the vote.

TWO -- (raises hand) Second.

AMY -- A motion has been made and seconded to call the vote on 
the rewritten bill to impose a five percent tax on the poor 
people of this state. All in favor signify by saying aye.

ALL -- Aye.

LIZ -- (stands) A tax on the poor people!?

AMY -- Sit down, please. All those opposed say nay. (pause)

LIZ -- Nay.

AMY -- I'm sorry, you're not a member of the finance committee. 
Let the record show that there were no opposing votes. The 
motion carries. Are there any other motions before this 

ONE -- (raises hand) I move to adjourn.

TWO -- (raises hand) Second.

AMY -- A motion to adjourn has been made and seconded. All those 
in favor say aye.

ALL -- Aye.

LIZ -- Wait a minute! You can't put a tax on the poor people!

AMY -- The motion carries. This committee is adjourned. (pounds 

(all but Amy and Liz exit)

LIZ -- (approaches Amy) This is an outrage! You can't vote for a 
tax on poor people!

AMY -- (gathering her things) Sure we can. We just did.

LIZ -- But that's ridiculous.

AMY -- It's no more ridiculous than the bill YOU proposed. 
Since most of the players of the lottery are poor people, the 
lottery is effectively a tax on the poor. It will actually be 
cheaper this way.

LIZ -- Cheaper?!

AMY -- Yes. Your tax on the poor includes a rake off for the 
lottery administrator -- that's YOU. Our bill saves the 
administration fee and passes the savings onto the tax payer. 
(starts toward exit)

LIZ -- The lottery is not a tax. People could win millions of 

AMY -- Get real. People have a better chance of getting struck 
by lightening than of winning the lottery. And the 
get-rich-quick mentality among naive gamblers causes many poor 
people to spend their grocery money on the lottery. It's a cruel 

LIZ -- Lots of people in other states have won millions of 

AMY -- (stops, turns) Have you ever followed up on those 

LIZ -- Well, no.

AMY -- We have. Most of them give new meaning to the old adage 
"easy come, easy go." Most of the so-called winners end up as 
bad off after a few years as before they won. Companies like 
yours give people false hope. (turns to exit)

LIZ -- What about all the millions of dollars for schools?

AMY -- (turns) Yes, what about that? Look at states that have 
legalized lotteries. About half of their high school graduates 
can't read their own diplomas. If they're getting any money from 
the lottery, they're certainly not getting much bang for their 
buck. (turns to exit)

LIZ -- You can't possibly think that this bill, this five per 
cent tax on poor people, will pass the house and senate.

AMY -- (turns) No. Actually, we're quite certain it will fail. 
That was not our intention in passing this bill out of 

LIZ -- Well, what was your intention then?

AMY -- Our intention was to drive home the fact that the 
lottery, in fact ALL GAMBLING, is nothing more than a tax on the 
poor. (exits)

LIZ -- (follows) Could I interest you in an all-expenses-paid 
fact-finding trip to the Bahamas? How about Tahiti?

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