Pennsylvania Democrats on Wednesday promised to fight Gov. Tom Corbett’s deal to privatize the state lottery through the courts, if necessary.
“In the long run this will cost Pennsylvanians because there’s sure to be litigation if necessary. This is sure to drag out into the future,” Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lebanon, said in front of about 50 of his Democratic colleagues inside the state capitol in Harrisburg.
Corbett, a Republican, last week announced a notice of award to Camelot Global Services Ltd., which manages the United Kingdom’s national lottery. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, one of Canada’s largest pension funds, has owned Camelot since 2010.
Camelot has promised to produce $34 billion in lottery profits over 20 years.
Democrats say Corbett moved too quickly on the plan, and called him overzealous about privatizations in general.
“I check eBay every day to see what else is up for sale,” said Sturla, the Democratic policy committee chairman.
Pennsylvania’s new attorney general, Kathleen Kane, a Democrat from Scranton, said after her swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday that she would examine the agreement with Camelot “for form and legality.”
Treasurer Rob McCord, also a Democrat, last month questioned the legality of the Camelot agreement, saying Camelot’s promise to increase lottery proceeds largely depends on adding new games, such as keno and online wagering, that might need legislative approval.
Corbett fired back late Wednesday.
“It’s alarming that the House Democrat caucus is promoting mistruths in an effort to work against a proposal that will deliver $3 billion to $4.5 billion of new revenue for programs benefitting older Pennsylvanians,” he said in a statement.
Pennsylvania is the only state that earmarks all its lottery proceeds for elderly-related programs.
Moody’s Investors Service rates the state’s general obligation bonds Aa2 while Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s assign AA-plus and AA, respectively.