Two possible funding sources
As we have written here repeatedly, we oppose any effort in the Legislature to legalize gambling in Hawaii.
That said, we have also taken the stance that a lottery affiliated with one of the big ones – Powerball or Mega Millions – is not a bad idea if it does not involve establishing another huge bureaucracy to administer it and if the proceeds are earmarked for education.
We think perhaps even more specificity should be used in earmarking those funds. They could be used as base funding for the governor’s push to establish universal access to pre-K education.
The problem with a big, new effort like the governor has proposed is that once established, it must be funded forever. Therefore, a continuing funding source (or sources) should be identified before the program is adopted. The lottery proceeds earmark could be part of that funding.
Another possible source of funding is licensing fees and taxes from medical marijuana dispensaries. We are not advocating the complete legalization of marijuana, but medical usage is already legal. As House Speaker Joe Souki pointed out, the only problem is that there is no legal way to obtain the drug.
State-licensed dispensaries are the answer.
If we are convinced that universal pre-K education is essential, then identifying funding sources is the next step. Lottery proceeds and dispensary fees and taxes may be two good ones.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.