So you want to gamble, but can't seem to put aside enough money to buy a lottery ticket?
State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) has a solution that could help you place that losing bet you thought you couldn't afford.
While his fellow GOP lawmakers look for more traditional methods of cutting entitlements in order to bring down government spending, LaFave is introducing a somewhat radical bill that would authorize employers to withhold a portion of their wages for the purpose of "investing" them in a new lottery game.
As the first-term U.P. lawmaker sees it, HB 6527 would remove barriers that currently limit the state's gambling revenue by setting aside money each pay period for a new, yet-to-be-invented lottery game.
"The thought process behind this particular game is that you kind of have to go out of your way to play these games right now," LaFave told Michigan Capitol Confidential, a conservative political newsletter that first reported the bill's introduction. "If you make it easier, I think the majority of people would check the box to play."
If just half the workers residing in Michigan agree to have the maximum $26 deducted from their paychecks each year, LaFave figures, the new lottery game could fetch "$100 million-ish" for Michigan's School Aid Fund.
Would employers really choose to facilitate a game of chance that allowed lucky jackpot winners to say "Take this job and shove it"?
Not to worry, employers! Rep. LaFave is way ahead of you.
Because jackpots in his game expected to top out at around $10,000," he says, "winnings are low, so nobody is quitting their jobs over it."
But why stop there? If Michigan can help employees put aside money for gambling, why not allow withholding for the purchase of recreational marijuana, liquor and cigarettes, all of which generate tax revenue for the state?
Sadly, HB 6527 (whose brevity, at a mere 115 words, conceals its author's creative genius) has been referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform, which currently has no plans to take up LaFave's bill before the end of the current lame duck session.
But LaFave, whose Yooper constituents overwhelming re-elected him to a second term last month, will be back when the new Legislature convenes next month.
It looks like the Michigan legislature needs an adult in the room.
Despite what this Michigan legislator states, the lottery is NOT an investment, and should never be looked at in that manner. The lottery is entertainment only, and you should never spend more than you can afford to lose. Committing a portion of every paycheck to play a lottery game is a very bad idea.
On the other hand, it would be a GREAT idea to dedicate a portion of every paycheck to things such as a 401K retirement plan, a healthcare savings account, and other things essential to your financial well-being.